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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

This week I’ve noticed, thankfully, a definite uptick in the presence of humour, in coping with this pandemic.  In good and respectful taste, social media (that I follow/partake) has been a great source of perspective.  Most posts seems to be finding that fine balance, of accepting painful realities and mounting losses, alongside human and humane commentary on how we’re making our way through it all. 

One of the posts I’ve shared a few times is a single image crafted to look like the stereotypically drawn tablets of the Ten Commandments.  Redesigned to fit this present era, there now are the ‘The 10 Zoom Commandments’.  For those living their working life (or extended family check-in life, or extra-curricular activity life) in the reality of online gatherings, these helpful tidbits remind us how easy it is to forget what others might see through the magic of a laptop camera. 

So far, I think I’m doing okay.  I have yet to show up to a meeting partially dressed, or had the cat walk across my desk mid-sentence, but I have forgotten to turn off the washer and dryer end-of-cycle signals, or mute the landline ringer.  I’ve also repositioned my desk so I’m not sitting directly in front of the downstairs pantry or laundry room or fruit cellar door, so family can quietly squeeze in and out for what they need.  If you haven’t guessed yet, for this time of extended work at home, I’ve set myself up in the basement, as our usual office is only a set of French doors away from the family room and television.  So far, so good.  I’m grateful the camera only faces one way, to a mostly neat corner of the room, but so far so good. 

Along the way, whether at the basement desk or the living room couch with a lap desk, I’m mindful of two salient pieces.  First, and most humbly, I am blessed with the options of many rooms and perspectives.  By local standards, our home is small, but by global standards, our home is a palace, with extraordinary comforts and spaces for four of us to be.  Second, wherever I’m working, it is vital for me to hold to ‘regular’ patterns.  It sounds elementary, but holding to normal cycles for sleeping and waking; ensuring good nutrition and exercise; practicing self-care and hygiene, and getting dressed for the office, are all vital practices for carrying forward.  It isn’t just the notion of being seen on someone else’s screen that should push us to comb our hair and eventually get out of the pjs; nor is it that we’re valued or valuable because of how we look.  It’s entirely the notion of getting closer to feeling like ourselves, when virtually everything else feels strange. 

On or off screen,I feel most myself when I’m in worship.  I know that format is also radically different right now, and I can’t wait until I’m able to offer a sermon to a sanctuary full of folks, instead of a small camera, but even in this modified way, it helps me to feel closer to you, and above all, to God.  Regular practices of spiritual nourishment are critical at any time, but especially now they are lifelines. 

On the edge of Holy Week, at a time of continuously reworking how and where we connect, as a staff team, we are missing more than ever the ways we usually gather with you.  And yet, because there’s always an ‘and yet’, we are holding tenaciously and gratefully to all the ways that keep us in the same space.  More than the magic of television, these are ways we can choose the sanctuary of spiritual practices; of knowing that God is not held by or limited to our temporal ways.  God is alive and working through all that seems fragmented.  Waving our palms from the couch, in our finest clothes or in the coziest of fleece, God greets us as we are, where we are, calling us to travel with Jesus, on this sacred road to Jerusalem.  Rest assured, there is nothing virtual about God’s Love and companionship – not now, not ever.

Blessed Holy Week to you, wherever you are, and abiding love to you all,


“I dwell in Possibility – “ (Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886)

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