This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, March 18, 2022
This week my laptop and calendar have been covered, more than usual, in the multi-hued scattering of notes-to-self. It’s the rainbow of tiny papers, accumulating thoughts and ideas I don’t want to lose in the melee of meetings, readings, webinars, and even moments of introspection. Here’s a sampling of just two: “KB, Hope amid despair” – citing a blessing, a spiritual posture; and then another, full of sentence fragments and bullet points:
- the overwhelm of it all
- darting from a PC meeting to ‘Caring in Crisis’
- photo after Katrina
- there to serve, to bring hope, to be an Easter person
Those cryptic-y phrases above were the beginnings of this very writing. I had a flash of inspiration, reflecting on a meeting and then a webinar. I was taking in the deeper realization that what I experienced and tried to capture on a scrap of paper was a microcosm, an illustration of what is asked of you, collectively, these days.
To explain, somewhat briefly: midway through Tuesday morning, I was in a Pastoral Care Committee meeting. The personal, congregational, and community needs, the heartaches and worries, are many and heavy right now. Many are carried in anonymity, but they are accompanied, nonetheless. We spoke, as a committee, about how overwhelming it can seem… and then without a breath, I left that gathering for the third of a six-part webinar series, borne of times just like this. I’ve since shared with quite a few some of my learnings there, and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so, but for today I’m just thinking about a stark yet telling photo. It was taken by Bishop Mike, the webinar leader, from the steps of a destroyed cathedral, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was there, leading a team then, to help clear the mud and debris. In a time of overwhelming change and loss, he and that team showed up to serve. He said their only intention was to offer hope, amid despair…and suddenly I was back in the arms of a blessing, by that very same title.
Hope amid despair is a recurring theme these days. Some will say that’s the human story but on this road to Easter, it’s easy to feel focused on dark more than light. That’s the nature of Lent, historically and accurately, for good reason, but more than ever I’m in need of hope’s strong, guiding presence. I know we refrain from hallelujahs, even on the mini-Easters of each Sunday. We’re not supposed to show up to the dazzling white before the descent through purple and black. However, I cannot deny or pretend not to know of the light that draws me forward, through these particularly hard spaces. It’s the end of the story I won’t celebrate yet AND the reason I’m reading the book all over again. That may seem oddly cryptic, too. So be it. It keeps me serving. It keeps me loving. It reminds of the One who keeps loving us all, no matter what, calling us beyond ourselves, to bravely be with those who suffer, too.
With love to you all,
“Like love, courage is also associated with the heart.”
(Russell Daye & Robert C. Fennell, ‘Turning Ourselves Inside Out’)