This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
For Friday, July 10, 2020
This week I’m writing to you just after we’ve finished our Sunday service recording. Sometimes I get ahead of things and have this done for our home packages to be printed all together. Sometimes I don’t, and today is one of those times. I’m learning to go with I can do for each day, and to release the rest to tomorrow. I’m also learning to share more of what happens behind the scenes when some days feel extra heavy; terrible even. In the grander scheme, I am well, and blessed, exceedingly. But some days, well… they just feel pretty crummy.
Last week’s service recording qualified as that. If you had a listen to it for even a moment, you know that already. I truly hope that didn’t stop you from at least skipping to the part where you can hear the separate recording of Sandra & Owen. It’s a beautiful contribution to our summer series, and it would be a shame to miss it. I also think it’s important for folks to know that the worship team knew the rest of the service recording had sound quality well below par. Trust me: if you can detect an error, we’ve heard it even louder. We didn’t put it to air with any comfort in its quality, and we braced for the many criticisms that did come our way. Some were gentler than others. That’s just part and parcel of community life. However (and I know this will sound defensive, but so be it), we also knew it was the best that could happen in that moment; that our state of equipment (breakdowns and changes galore) left us in a stop-gap situation; that the long and arduous troubleshooting after, by Kevin, Tania, and Andrew, did find and fix the bugs, but there was no time to do it all again; and that it was only because of the hours and hours of pull apart and fixing that Kevin invested after the fact, it was still far better than the original product.
Please don’t think that any of the above is trying to call forth praise for all the other weeks that the sound quality has been so good. Please don’t think you need to apologize for telling us things were bad – although I will say that constructive criticism is always easier to field when it’s prefaced by a compassionate inquiry. That said, sometimes things are just going to be bad; terrible even. This tech-reliant world is going to let us down, and this won’t be the last of when things go awry.
So, you can understand why I felt a little more apprehensive than usual, heading into today’s recording. I know how much our volunteers especially have poured into bringing these services to life, and I know the standard we have set is hard to maintain. I also know how much we all rely on this ‘time together’, and that none of us wants anything to feel distracting, let alone not enough.
How perfect then, was the timing of our Kassandra, who knows well what it’s like to be in this online worship space. She knows, too, what our family is fielding in extra worries and parent care right now and, according to her current course on leadership, my stress inventory reveals a tough place for me to feel enough. Enter, with gratitude, the Instragram post she shared from Kate Bowler. I’ll send you the link if you’d like. It won’t be the same without her gentle voice, but I’ve transcribed the text below. I’ve memorized much of it already… especially the part where she signs off, wishing us all “a beautiful, terrible day.” It’s such an honest and love-filled acknowledgment that, in all that soars and all that is cringe-worthy, we are, each of us, enough. Technology just can’t stand in the way of that.
With love to you all,
Kate Bowler’s “Blessing For When You Know You Can’t Be Enough”
“…since Lent, it just feels like it’s going on and on and on and on. And crappy days are crappy months. I feel like it’s going to be crappy years….I thought it might be nice to pull a historical blessing from somebody who was really good at asking for simple things. This is from a late medieval theologian named Thomas ? Kempis. He was a big believer that one of the fastest ways to feel connected to God and each other is just to be honest about how garbage it feels, so this is a blessing for when you know that you can’t be enough in that moment; you can’t shell out enough kindness and enough yearning for justice, and enough love, and do enough laundry. You are just caught between that feeling of feeling inadequate and being in desperate need. So, if that’s you, then this prayer is for you.”
O you most sweet and loving God,
you know my weaknesses and the troubles I endure,
and what great sins and evils I am involved,
and how often I am weighed down and tempted and bothered by them.
I need your consolation and support.
I speak to you who knows all things,
every thought, and who alone can perfectly comfort and help me.
You know what things I need the most.
See, I stand before you poor and with nothing,
calling for grace and asking for mercy.
Refresh this hungry asker.
Light up my cold heart with the fire of your love
and in my blindness, let me see the brightness of your presence.
Don’t let me go away from you feeling hungry and dry,
but in your mercy, comfort me.