This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, February 26, 2021
This week I received an eagerly-awaited book – which I might say about all the texts added to my groaning shelves, but this one almost had me skipping back from the mailbox. Called ‘The Optimist’s Telescope’, by Bina Venkataraman, I hadn’t even heard of the book or the author before last Sunday afternoon; but so taken was I, after hearing an interview with her, about this book and her ongoing research, that I ordered it fast as I could, and have already made first dive in.
At the risk of an unfair teaser, that’s all I’m going to tell you about ‘The Optimist’s Telescope’, for now. I’m weaving it into the plans for Sunday, March 21, and will do my best not to send regular updates between now and then. For this moment, I can tell you it is one of those pieces, and Venkataraman seems one of those authors, to capture what needs to be said, and said again, for this time and space of our collective story.
The same can be said, with a more subdued tone, for an invitation, which I also received this week. Technically, the first mailing came through a number of weeks ago, but it’s since been extended again, now with underscored attention, for folks like me to share it far and wide. So, here goes:
Just less than two weeks from now, on Thursday, March 11, Church Anew (an ecumenical ministry sprouted in Minnesota) is offering a 90-minute, online gathering called “One Year Changed: Faith in Pandemic”. It’s further described as “A ready-made Lent retreat for you and your whole church”, and then explained further again as a means to “memorialize the way this moment has shaped us and will continue to influence us.” It is to be a time of listening to faith leaders, activists, and artists;, a time of praying, reflecting and, most importantly, “considering how the Spirit might be moving all of humanity in this moment.” It is built on the compassionate understanding that, “We have been leading, parenting, learning, working, neighbouring, and simply existing within a global health crisis for over a year. It has changed the way we live our lives, the ways we connect meaningfully with one another, and perhaps it has also changed our faith.”
The event is entirely free, and I’m hoping you’ll consider joining me there. The link is below, and we can share it in a separate email, too. Rest assured, while I follow Church Anew regularly, I don’t have any explicit vested interest (you can opt out of further emails from them), or the breadth of the event itself, but I do know that this upcoming milestone of one year apart is something we should not ignore. I also pray for the time beyond this time, when we can gather and reflect in person, but all in necessary time.
For now, maybe also mark your calendars with an extra bit of a star for Sunday, March 14. That’s the day we’re going to worship and reflect, as a church family, on what the last year has brought to bear, for us here, in this community. In joy and in sorrow, we have come through so much, and we’ll do our best to hold it all in prayer, and response. May we continue to hold each other in prayer, in all our beautiful diversity and stories. May we continue to be a community of Jesus-followers, bound by optimism, and realism, and even realistic idealism, but always, always, faith in the Spirit, ever moving us, in and beyond this moment.
With love to you all,
For Thursday, March 11, 8pm Eastern: One Year Changed: Faith in Pandemic — Church Anew
“Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other as a gesture of hope. In community we say: “Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs—but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care.”
(“Community Makes God Visible”, henrinouwen.org)