This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, October 8, 2021
This week I’ve been doing a little extra in the preparing department. There’s the homestead excitement, of course, of welcoming our children back after their longest stretches away, so far. The grocery list is growing, the bedrooms are freshened, and the porch is decked out, as is the garage for Sunday’s outdoor-ish meal. I’m grateful for every ounce of this work, and hoping I don’t take for granted any of what it heralds.
In the church-stead, there’s a half-day workshop for which I’m preparing, too. Booked for this Friday morning, it comes with a premise that might be very timely for a weekend of family interaction, but it’s designed with church families in mind. Led by the wise, incomparable Betty Pries, the workshop is called “(Mis)Communication & Congregational Life”, and is billed as an exploration of disagreeing well; of communication dynamics, strategies and tools, with a longer look “in defense of good disagreements”.
It’s probably helpful to note that the workshop is part of a larger series, offered by The Emmanuel College Alumni/ae Association, in partnership with The Centre for Religion and Its Contexts. That sounds like a long, long connector, but the most vital piece for me is the series itself, appropriately called The “Things They Didn’t Teach Me in Seminary” Seminar Series. As with every vocation, there are some things that just don’t get covered in formal prep and study. Perhaps more to the point, there are some things that just can’t be understood the same way until one has been serving and learning for a while, with lived experience to bring context and meaning to otherwise academic matters.
There is always so much to learn, she says so understatedly. No matter how long we’ve been making our way through life or our chosen work paths, there is a necessary humility, to name where we’ve grown and where we must still. As parent, as professional, as child, neighbour, and friend, I’m perpetually on a learning curve about this life. Especially in the department of witness, as one longing to speak truths about Jesus and God’s unwavering love, I’m forever the student about what it all means, and why. I have to say I’m fond of this reality – here in this place where I’m learning deeper gratitude, accepting greater mystery, and falling more fully into the grand Creation where God forever recreates us all.
With love to you all, and deep thanks, this Thanksgiving and always,
“Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again.
“It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”
(“When I Am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver)