This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, February 19, 2021
This week I’ve been trying to get my head and heart into a new sort of schedule. To be sure, the day to day of life hasn’t altered radically since I last wrote, but the shift into Lent has brought a change to my daily devotional practice. Bear with me a minute as I try to describe it?
Taking to heart (and head) the oft-repeated wisdom that Lent is not meant to be a diet plan, I’ve decided to consume more, not less, of spiritual sustenance. I’ll talk about it more on Sunday morning, but in essence my Lenten practice this year is a very, very modified, and inevitably watered-down version of the Liturgy of the Hours. Here’s how it goes: I greet the day with a daily passage that pops into my phone, pre-dawn. It’s called ‘Breathing Space’, and offers a small but powerful call in to God’s presence, for now through Easter morning. A little later, but before I open my books and computer, I invest in the daily text from ‘Faith on the Move: Daily Reflections on Hope and Change’. (It’s the same one I’m hoping you will consider for a Monday afternoon drop-in discussion group, but more on that this Sunday, too.) By the middle of the afternoon, I’m ready for the caffeine-like jolt that comes with anything by Walter Brueggemann, especially in his Lent devotional called ‘A Way Other Than Our Own’. Last but not least, in time for my evening unwind, I turn to Rev. Kelsey Beebe’s ‘Refuge’. Different again from the others, it is a guided journal, with soul nourishment that suits contemplative, end of day reflection.
Why didn’t I just use one, you ask? Good question. I’d like to say it’s a job hazard, with too many excellent recommendations coming my way. I’d further defend my smorgasbord with the hope of girding the length of my waking hours, this season particularly, with holy recollection. I’d also like to say I have great confidence I’ll be able to manage the schedule, as it were, but the honest answer is I worry about that a little already. We’re at day 2 as I write this, and so far, so great, but we all know how life creeps on, and/or the need for sleep might take over. Time will tell, and I’ll do my best to tell you, now and again, how it’s all going.
I know it would have been easier to keep this all to myself. Lent is, after all, an intensely personal time of spiritual deepening; and I suppose, too, if I didn’t tell you what I’m up to, then I wouldn’t have to admit what and when it goes wrong. However, I also know and give thanks that Lent is an intensely communal time of spiritual growth. The pieces we invest in, and the accountability we offer, one by one, must and will play out in who we are as a whole people. That is far from revolutionary news, but in this extended time of deep reckoning with the social impacts of our shared humanity, thank God for the reminder of it all.
Thank God for you, too, and whatever your Lent practice(s) may be. Thank God for the reminder we’re journeying together, with a new, renewed community as our shared destination.
With love to you all,
“I imagine Lent for you and for me as a great departure from the greedy, anxious antineighborliness of our economy, a great departure from our exclusionary politics that fears the other, a great departure from self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation. And then an arrival in a new neighborhood, because it is a gift to be simple, it is a gift to be free; it is a gift to come down where we ought to be.” (Walter Brueggemann, ‘A Way Other Than Our Own’)