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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, January 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

This week’s return to ‘normal’ life and pace has been both kind and gentle. It’s always good to come back to the people and place you love, and especially so in the dawn of a new year.

One of this week’s tasks was to take down the Jesse Tree, just inside the sanctuary doors. Growing and almost literally blossoming across the weeks of Advent, this colourful expression of faith had seemingly served its purpose to date, and the calendar says it is time to move on through Epiphany. However, and perhaps not surprisingly, I wasn’t quite ready to have it away. Unlike the Christmas trees that inevitably, eventually, seem to tire and wear out their welcome, this living branch of prophetic faith had really taken root in my preparing for worship (pun entirely intended).

Somehow the compromise became this: first, I opted not to rush through the process. I took down each card individually, snipping away ribbon or pulling off hooks. Second, and most importantly, I read each entry as I went along. Intermingled as they were on the branches themselves, my head and heart moved back and forth from expressions of hope and peace, to joy and love. More than once my breath was taken away; taken away but not aback by the deep and God-honouring commitments of this faith family. Your faithfulness does not surprise me. Your vulnerability, humility, and courage continually inspire me.

I don’t know yet what we will do with this array of cards, but I can tell you they are far from the recycling bin. Anonymous though they may be, they are nonetheless vital statements of who you are, who we are, and who we trust God is still calling us to be. They are such beautiful accompaniments for this fresh new journey through Epiphany. This is a time of sacred travel, alongside those who first encountered Jesus, wondering often and aloud what it all means in light of his presence. Who knows what we will do with these cards, but perhaps I should simply say, ‘stay tuned’ – and also, ‘don’t be surprised when Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love are visibly before us again’.

Although I could not know on Monday what then unfolded in the Iranian skies on Tuesday through Wednesday, my heart’s longing for these Advent themes is now that much deeper. My faith’s conviction in the core need for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love is only growing in resolution. My prayer is that we all, together, find renewed and courageous ways to name them and live them, in every season of the year.

Blessed New Year, and love to you all,


“I have come to see it’s not so much about being less afraid as it is about being more brave.” (Deirdre Pike, January 5, 2020)

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