Fallow

Beloved in Christ,

One aspect of parish ministry that has been a great blessing to me over the last four years is our regular Tuesday evening study group. Perhaps this is because study is such an important part of how I live out my own vocation as a priest. Nevertheless, these groups have evolved and deepened over the months and years.

Sometimes they were more “outward” facing like our Theology-on-Tap nights at HQ (formerly Amiche) or a book study like the one we did on Tish Harrison Warren’s ‘Liturgy of the Ordinary.’ Other times they have been more “inward” facing like the months we spent reading through the Gospels together line by line, or the time we took a much closer look at the Apostles’ Creed.

Whatever the case, for most Tuesdays over the last four years we have met to study, ask questions, laugh, encourage, and pray together. For some of you these groups helped reconnect you with Jesus and for others they helped deepen your faith. Going forward these times of study together will continue to be an important part of my ministry with you.

However, my sense at the moment is that we are tired. Not just physically but mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. So, I am proposing that we hit “pause” for a moment on our regularly scheduled programming to enter into a fallow season.

In agriculture fallow is a practice whereby good soil is left to rest for a cycle. No new seeds are planted. Rather, the land is allowed to recover. It is essential to biodiversity and healthy crops. 

During a fallow cycle it appears that not much is happening, at least on the surface. But nothing could be further from the truth. Below the surface, hid from our eyes, a great deal is happening. The land is recovering and storing organic matter and retaining water. The lifecycle of pathogens—organisms that can produce disease in crops—is being disrupted. In short, the soil is being restored. The spiritual parallels are obvious.

So, what will this fallow cycle look like in our parish? Between now and Advent (which begins on Sunday, November 28) we won’t be running our regular Tuesday evening study. Instead, beginning this Thursday, September 16 at 9:00pm we will pray Compline together on Zoom every week (LINK). You will not need to prepare anything ahead of time. There are no assigned readings. No weekly commitment or expectations. Simply show up on Thursdays and we will have a short time of prayer together to end the day.

A word on the service itself. Compline, also known as Night Prayer, is the final office (fixed prayer time) of the day, usually prayed shortly before bed. It brings our busy day to a peaceful and quiet conclusion. Hence, we will meet at 9:00pm. But it is a short service, only about 10 minutes in length.

So join us, if you like, on Thursdays at 9:00pm on Zoom (LINK). All are welcome. No experience necessary. This is simply a time when we can rest together in the Lord and allow him to replenish our souls and bodies. We’ll open the meeting at 8:45pm each Thursday in case people want to log on early and check in with each other. Then we will begin Compline promptly at 9:00pm.

God bless you church. See you at 10:30am on Sunday on the lawn of St Paul’s.

JRT+

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