This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, October 19, 2018
This week I have been doing some research into the Hebrew Scripture, specifically the concept of the “anawim,” a group of people who are made humble by the intense pressure of their spiritual commitment. In most translations of the bible, this Hebrew word is rendered as “meek” or “humble” and doesn’t communicate what some researchers believe is the original, religious dimension to its definition. (And I find that endlessly interesting as another evolution in language that uses words from the past to suit a new time and place. Perhaps that’s a story for another time.)
But do we feel this same kind of pressure? It has come up for me a few times this week, in conversation with colleagues and with members of this community. There are many Christian denominations that have always seemed to me to have a lot of pressure in their tradition: only some are going to receive salvation, non-Christians have to be converted, and a deep, personal relationship with God is expected. A friend of mine was reminiscing about when she was in a tent service receiving her first prophecy, an event that was emotionally trying for her but completely necessary to her faith. It creates a deep and meaningful spirituality in her that I find impressive. Different traditions have different strengths, but that level of pressure might cause in me a weaker spirituality. Different people need different things, and religious pressure is no different.
There are lots of pressures to feel in our own lives and the church to me has always filled a double role of providing some pressure (unavoidably, just a feature of reality) but also being a spiritual tonic for the pressures of everything else. Being in church doesn’t solve problems (well not all of them) but it has always made me feel less alone, more in touch with myself, and closer to God and creation in a way that is comforting. Though I cannot fix everything that is wrong in my life and lives around me just because I sat in a worship service for an hour, my hope that things will change and get better is often reinvigorated.
I hope that if you are feeling burdened, that these things pass from you soon. I hope that the Spirit lifts you up, and that you are reminded that God is with us, and with you.
”My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation.I hear the sweet, though far off hymn
that hails a new creation.” (Robert S. Lowry, Voices United 716)