This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, May 1, 2020
This week I’ve started watching something that I imagine the rest of the television world discovered years ago. With some probably unnecessary detail, most of my tv time happens when I’m on the treadmill. My iPad sits in a handy stand up top, earbuds in, and away I go, fully distracted from the inclines. I was following a little retro Canadian series, and when it ended, I saw that CBC’s thumbnail listings now has a category called ‘Comfort TV’. Maybe it should be Corona-escaping TV, but no matter; the marketing worked.
All of that is to say I am now completely hooked on The Great British Baking Show. I picked it up at Season 4, which I think first aired 7 or 8 years ago, but it’s all fresh for me. My family doesn’t understand my fascination with it. They say that it’s hardly different, episode to episode. I say it’s amazing that someone could bring baking into the reality genre. I also say I’m learning things along the way, for that dreamed-of-day when I go back to my love for flour-y (albeit gluten-free) kitchen creations.
What I haven’t said, until now, is that I think my love for this show (and why I choose it over the Canadian version, for now), is I get to immerse myself in some British ways of being. There are the recipes that work by weight for dry ingredients; the practice of proving, instead of rising; and the quintessential British love for pastry stuffed with stuff. Above all, I love hearing the various accents, from all across this beloved island. Of course I’m partial to the Scots, but I’ll take any connection I can get to my second favourite place in the world. I’ve always had a strong pull to Britain, as half of our extended family lives there. I miss them very much, all the time, but especially in this time of forced separation, the longing to see them is magnified. The wondering about when I might be there again is hard to contain.
I don’t want you to think I’m being hard on myself in what I’m about to say next. I’m grateful for some healthy escapism in the midst of some incredibly long weeks, and recommend it for you, too. The challenge to myself, however, is asking whether I’m seeking distraction at the expense of harder work that needs to take place, too. It’s the spiritual work I’m talking about now; the work of an inner pilgrimage that takes me closer to who I am in this present unfolding, and where I could be, for the better, with God, for now and for the time long after. Comfort television, OR an online retreat/course with Christine Valters Paintner, on her text ‘The Soul of a Pilgrim’?
I choose both. I also choose to invite you along with me on the latter, in particular, as we begin a worship series modified to travel together. The soul of a pilgrim is what I’m seeking, for the long haul. While it is arguably a voyage best made alone, I’m still exceedingly grateful to know you’ll be out there, too; on your own journey, and all of us with God, as our most faithful companion.
With love to you all,
“This is a perilous journey because I encounter my own shadowy places.
Their resistance draws strength out of the small and hurting pockets of my soul.
The only way I can sustain this inner gaze is to kneel down at the altar and surrender
to the arms of the Holy One. When I do, my dark places are transformed into wisdom and grace.
Each moment I am called to awaken to this journey within. No passport is necessary.”
(Christine Valters Paintner, ‘The Soul of A Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within’, p. 4)