This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, May 21, 2021
This week I am writing to you from the bright and warm comfort of our front porch. Like many of you, long waiting for the seasonal temperatures to arrive, I’m basking in the gift of sunshine and full bloom spring. This is a version of Study Leave I have never known before, in this place, at this cultural time, and in the glory of birds that I’d almost forgotten in the suburbs. With orioles and hummingbirds feeding just metres away from me, the local Carolina wren offering its daily symphony, and a house finch whistling away while nesting in the porch lantern, this week’s attendance at the all-virtual Festival of Homiletics is setting a bar rather high for being in the best of all worlds at one time. Centred on the theme of ‘Preaching the Future Church’, The Festival is also rekindling a fire for the power and promise of preaching Christian hope, in so many concrete ways.
In a few minutes, I will be making my way inside, to take in the opening session on the living room tv. It is far easier to watch a yoga instructor from my mat in that space, with a few less soaring, blessed distractions. Wait a minute, did I just say that a yoga class is our opening session for a preaching conference? Why yes, yes I did; and yes, it couldn’t be more perfect. Led by a fabulous team from Yogadevotion, each day’s morning and closing sessions are in keeping with their Christian pursuit of Faith Integrated Yoga, and their goal of ‘Practicing in the Presence’. It does not seek to be some strange, culturally appropriated edition of another sacred practice. It is an intentional, guided meditation that seeks to align our whole selves, body, mind, and spirit – and in the context of Christian language and symbol. Those who know other forms of yoga will quickly recognize the names of poses and postures, but the intermingling of Scripture and prayer is something quite new to me. It has been an extraordinary part of each day’s learning.
I imagine you are starting to brace yourselves already, for all I could gush about when I return from this time away. I won’t lie. There’s a good chance that will happen, because all of the above and more is simply too good not to share. In the meantime, perhaps you want to join me in celebrating and repeating what we’ve been using as our Breath Prayer this week, with Yogadevotion. It is simple, and it is short, but it seems precisely what we all need to remember these days and nights. You don’t need to offer it in any special pose, but you may want to notice what happens when you inhale and say with Creation, singing with the birds, that ‘hope springs’; and then, as you exhale, rest in the promise of ‘eternal’. Hope springs eternal. Breathe in, breathe out. Receive the new life of the Spirit into every fibre of your treasured being. This Pentecost Sunday, this Pentecost season, and always, hope springs eternal. Thanks be to God!
With love to you all,
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33.14, NRSV)