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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

This week has felt rather stark, thus far.  There have been moments of joy and gratitude, but also moments of disbelief and almost disconnect, as Nova Scotia’s depth of loss comes into fuller light.  My heart aches at the knowledge that, by the time you receive and read this, the number of grieving families (the sphere of grief, to quote our Moderator) may have increased again.  My heart also aches with the painful irony that, for the first time in over a month and a half, the top news story of the day was displaced last Sunday… and yet the suffering of this story is no more comprehensible. 

            In this Sunday’s sermon, you will hear me reference an article by Ruth Everhart, as released online by The Christian Century, on April 21, 2020.  In her short but poignant essay, Everhart identifies what so many of us feel so keenly.  As the title itself summarizes, ‘in this Easter season, words fail’.  In this Easter season, when we long to be surrounded with light and joy, we are moving through overwhelming, compounding loss – loss that often defies words.  My heart aches with that truth, too.

            That is why, for today, for this week’s message in this format, I’m going to turn away from words, at least in part.  I’m going to invite you, instead, to gaze on a photo that I took in our front garden, over two and half weeks ago.  The weather to that point hadn’t been very spring like yet, at least not on the other side of the lake in Burlington – and yet, because the (heavenly) hellebore doesn’t really pay much attention to what tries to hold it back, you can see the first blooms starting to open already.  Living out its name, it persists in raising stems and then glorious flowers, reaching for the heavens, beyond the earthly chills.

            May this be true for you, and me, and all God’s people, everywhere.  May we continue to search for the words we need, to name and claim God’s abiding Love in the midst of it all; and when words fail, may we look with confidence to the beauty of God’s creation.  May we see there what lies beyond words, as we learn to tell this story.  May we know ourselves held and sustained, this Easter season and always. 

With love to you all,

Heather

“I have heard the beautiful stone ruins blanketing the Irish landscape sometimes called ‘sky-clad’ churches because the roofs are mostly gone and they invite us into a unity of sky and earth at the heart of our prayer.  Rather than think of these churches as ruins, we might consider the invitation rising up from these spaces to remember Earth as our original place of worship and encounter with the Divine.”

(Christine Valters Paintner, ‘Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature’; April 22, 2020)

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