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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dear Friends,

            This week came with some extra administration on the to-do list, both within church life and the home front.  For the latter, for example, this is the time of year when we receive a large, relatively thick brown envelope, asking us to complete and return the pages required for our daughter’s band registration.  As it did for our son’s, the package arrival is slightly in advance of their annual ‘bandiversary’, coinciding with their first rehearsal once upon a time.  The forms should come with expectation, not they tend to elicit a groan. 

            We’ve been filling these forms since 2013, and every year I know there will be a series of boxes, close to the last page, in which parents/guardians are asked to complete some of our own basic bio, for the records kept by the support group.  To paraphrase:  ‘where can we find you, how do we best reach you, and please check the areas you are most interested in volunteering.  To have a child in Band is to be a Booster by default, so no time like the present to share the load of keeping this organization afloat.  And, please tell us your occupation (in case we might call on your professional expertise)’. 

            It’s the last bit that should be one of the easiest to fill, but I think I might have tried different language each year.  It has never been a question of joy or pride or ability to name myself as a Christian minister, but we’re in a broader cultural space where I can’t assume the reader knows what that really means.  ‘Industrial Plant Manager’ seems easier to translate.  To name my vocation is to recall those times that new acquaintances have thought me to be in provincial Cabinet; or others that were genuinely perplexed by someone ‘making a living’ at a church; or the cell phone company account categorization that said the best she could come up with to match was ‘sales and service’.  Is it most concise to say I am an Ordained Minister; or Pastor; or United Church of Canada Minister; or Clergy?  Community of Faith Leader?  Chief Spiritual Officer?  Teacher/Preacher/Counsellor/Public Relations & Cultural Communicator? I don’t presume there to be a fully accurate label, or even that there ought to be, but sometimes I long for one that needs less explanation.

            In light of this Sunday’s focus, and in light of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25 this year, btw, in the Northern Hemisphere), perhaps my vocational descript should just be this:  Follower of the rebel Jesus. 

            Won’t you join me?

            With love to you all,


Christianity is the permanent revolution of breathtaking and roaring love,

an encounter with the rebel Jesus...”

(The Rev. Michael Coren, October 26, 2019)

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