This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, January 21, 2022
This week I had the gift of travelling down a road I’d never been on before. I mean that literally, although there have been plenty of metaphorical examples of that, too. The particular road I’m thinking of, although not far from the church, seemed worlds away. It was along the edge of Lake Ontario, running with a proximity to the shore that brought a familiar peace. There’s something about a great expanse of water that reorients my heart. It reminds me, humbly, that there is a much bigger whole of which we are but one part. The fathoms of water are beyond my grasp, and that is a marvelous thing to accept.
That same road eventually drew me south again, toward the highway, and it was on that stretch of travel I found another moment of perspective. While I was driving along, in the comfort of a heated car, willing my cold hands to warm on the heated steering wheel, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a farm worker, standing in a field of grapevines. I should have had the courage to stop and ask, but I didn’t, and so I am left to surmise (or be corrected by your collective agricultural wisdom) that, with pruners in hand, there was something that needed attention on those vines. Double digits below zero or not, there was work that needed done, and that dedicated person was out there to do it. Their hands were living a piece of our community story, in ways that too often go unseen.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church in Corinth, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, I know his language of hands and feet was meant as teaching metaphor. Like the Jesus he followed, Paul often moved into language and image from the stuff of everyday life. The Body of Christ grew in part because Paul listened and responded with comparisons to the bodies they knew so well. All these years later, I’m still grateful for that. My love-hate relationship with (St.) Paul clings to love when I think of how his words still shape and guide us, in good and nourishing ways.
I’m also grateful that his words push me to think more deeply in literal ways, too. Travelling down roads or remembering with fondness all the times that this Body of Christ has come together to serve, there are endless opportunities to see hands and feet, ears and eyes, taking their unique and valuable roles in bringing life to life. I don’t know much about a vineyard, but I know that hands braving the mid-January cold are akin to all the hands that have worked so hard here over the years, and will again in time. Long and challenging as this present waiting is for us all, the Body of Christ is still alive and at work, planning for a day of joyful reunion. That, too, has both metaphorical and literal layers. No matter where we are or what we’re called to do, what a gift to pray our way through them all, with great anticipation.
With love to you all,
“And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.”
(St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of St. Benedict)