This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
For Friday, August 7, 2020
This week I’ve been working extra hard to look ahead. Arguably, accurately, that has been a regular part of every day since the first part of March. Looking ahead, dreaming and hoping ahead, have been interwoven in every decision, every longing, every piece of missing and wondering. That said, this more specific kind of looking ahead is centred on life after my upcoming vacation. Even as I’m counting the days until I can spend some extended time off-screen, I’m also casting my eyes to the possibilities of a time when things around church are different than they are now. I make no predictions about when we’ll back in the sanctuary, in modified form as it will/must be. I make no presumptions about anything these days, no matter how much I may long for them. However, I know we are in excellent care and leadership – and that allows me to trust that we will continue to plan, and prepare, and persist in being church together, no matter the physical constructs.
In the midst of all that thinking about our physical gathering, I’m looking ahead as well, to what we might be like, as a people coming to terms with having been apart, so long. We are changed, each of us, inevitably. We are changed as a collective, in terms of what we have endured and learned. Our faith has been challenged, as has our mental health. I know that will be uniquely different for every one of us, but it is another inevitability of such radical social upheaval; and its impacts cannot be downplayed or ignored.
I imagine that’s why I’ve seen such strong and healthy attention being paid, in a more concerted way of late, toward our mental well-being. The concern for physical health has not abated, especially in a pandemic; but the growing awareness and conversation about mental health is coming more to the fore. We ought to be grateful for that honesty, and that push toward our holistic coping, and thriving. We ought to pay close attention to the beautiful complexity in which we’ve been created, and to know that God honours, and fully cherishes, every aspect of our needs.
And so it is that I’ve been either bookmarking or filing together some of the most recent resources that have come my way. Among the many, there’s this week’s email from The UCC’s ‘Embracing the Spirit’, and the focus on mental health first aid kits. Late last month, The UCC Ministry & Employment newsletter published “A Journal Entry for Clergy in Pandemic Times”, with a baker’s dozen of coping mechanisms and truths, that apply to so much more than clergy. Even the cover photo of a large retailer’s fall promo, dropped in our mailbox this Wednesday, called for a time to ‘Renew. Refresh. Rejuvenate.’ They may be talking about an end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall wardrobe, but the sentiment still resonates, deeply.
Through it all, I keep coming back to one word: the same word I associate most with the Salari family, who we’ll see in this week’s Questions of the Heart. It’s a word I associate strongly with this congregation, and all that you have witnessed and shared, these last five months and more. That word is resilience, and it is the core of my longing right now. Because I know and see such resilience in you, I can know peace in taking this upcoming time away for vacation. While there will never be a time that feels right to pull back and pull in, this feels like an okay-ish time to renew, refresh, and rejuvenate, every aspect of my being.
Thank you for your trust, and your release. Thank you for your perseverance; for your faithful, resilient ways that are always learning and accepting with each new pivot. Thank you for all that we will still come to do and be, all together. Thank you for your unending, love-filled ways, of walking in the Way of Jesus.
With love to you all,
“Joy comes with the dawn, joy comes with the morning sun;
joy springs from the tomb and scatters the night with her song,
joy comes with the dawn.”
(Gordon Light, 1985; Voices United 166)