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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, January 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

            This week, I’m so grateful to report, I was able to gather at a lunch with some of my local colleagues.  We came for sustenance that was as much spiritual as physical.  I suspect you know how that goes.  In a way that only trusted companions can offer, our table space became almost bubble-like in the midst of a very busy restaurant.  Life stories, vocational updates, family concerns, and plain old reminiscing have a powerful, intermingling, refreshing effect, especially nearing the close of a week.

            Somewhere in the sharing, one of our ministry neighbours recounted how many families he’s accompanied through times of grief and mourning, at his current pastoral charge alone.  It seemed a staggering number at first, but also a reminder of this privileged space we enter so often along the way.  It also brought to mind and heart what it felt like for our church family, this time last year and for many months to follow.  In what might be described, rather insufficiently, as an extended season of loss, last year’s daybook carries poignant reminders of how frequently you were receiving messages asking for prayer:  prayers for the dying; prayers for the families, the caregivers, the friends; and prayers for healing and strength, for the long journey after.  They are not easy messages to receive.  They are not easy messages to offer.

            Looking back now, with notations in my calendar to remember these one year milestones, I remember also the powerful, extended outpouring of kindness and compassion.  You loved one another through some long and hard days, and you did so with patience, empathy, and sympathy.  Maybe all of that sounds like a given for a community of faith, but we all know or have heard the stories of communities where that’s just not as true. 

             In the midst of a liturgical season, and a preaching series, that calls us back to To Following the Way, there seems no end to the list of sought after Christian characteristics.  Jesus-followers of every time and space are called to live with gratitude, to give and receive forgiveness, and to hold fast to God-honouring integrity.  Those are just a few – and yet all of which would feel rather robotic were they not also practiced with kindness.  Then again, maybe kindness isn’t really possible without integrity, forgiveness, and gratitude.  Maybe there’s a gift in their interconnectedness.  Maybe that shouldn’t ever be a maybe. 

            There’s absolutely gift in the interconnectedness of this congregation.  I know it daily, but especially so across the many seasons we share.  Whatever comes in the time to come, may you know and celebrate it, too. 

            With love to you all,

Heather

“The fruit of self-knowledge is kindness.

Broken ourselves, we bind tenderly the wounds of the other.”

(Joan Chittister, ‘Memories of Unkindness’)

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