This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, May 22, 2020
This week I found myself in a little bit of time travel. On my way into the sanctuary, preparing for our weekly service recording, I actually slowed enough just outside the double doors, and properly took in what rests on that small table. In some ways, it was bittersweet. Like an inadvertent time capsule, there were untouched paper reminders of our Lent and Easter plans. The collection of past bulletins stops at March 8th, and the hard copies of this weekly missive was sorely out of date. I’m not sure why, but for the first while in this time apart, I kept putting at least one fresh copy out there. I think it was an act of hope, praying wildly that we wouldn’t be away from each other for so long. Slowly but surely, reality has settled in.
In the midst of that brief paper sorting, I came across the text I wrote for here, for you, for March 6th. On first read, it seems so naïve; so hopeful and yet so naïve. In some ways, it makes apparent that I hadn’t a blessed clue, then, the depth of change this pandemic would bring for us all. In other ways, it serves as a crucial reminder of how much I’ve had to learn along the way, and how much learning there is still, and always before us. Some of my March 6 questions have been answered already. Some require the much longer gift of perspective.
Along with writing this week’s edition before you, today’s docket included a monthly report for Council. I was about to say that you could read it in its entirety at your leisure, but even in thinking it, I’m suddenly aware that you can’t; that our previous practice, of having Council reports available in a handy binder on site, is no longer helpful… and so I’ll add that to the list of things to update. I’ll add it to the list of things to learn, which leads me to back to my report for Council. In it, in my extended musings with and for them, I talked about my learning to embrace where we are now. It is not a joyful thanksgiving for being apart. It is, instead, a slow acceptance that this cannot be deemed only as lost time. Please understand: I mourn, deeply, the tremendous suffering for so many, in ways we are just starting to understand. I lament, often, what this time apart is asking of you, placing upon you, and withholding from you. And yet… I am learning to see and then to say a more concerted thank you for the good that is still before us; for the good that we are freshly discovering all around us. I am learning to celebrate the learnings; to keep that running list of practices that will hold us in a better place, long after this time apart is considered memory.
I have always been thankful for you, but even more so now. I am thankful, beyond words, that we are travelling this road together, even as we remain physically apart. With God, through God, in God, new life remains before us. Not even a pandemic can alter that.
Love and peace, courage and comfort to you all,
“Between every two pine trees, there is a door leading to a new way of life.”
(John Muir, marginal note in Volume I of Prose Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson)