Holy Disturbance: Where Does it Hurt?

“We believe everyone carries hurt and has the capacity to acknowledge the pain of others. We believe God draws close to us in every moment of suffering. We commit to vulnerability and compassion.”

—Sanctified Art

I have been doing poetry exercises every morning for the last month. One of the exercises is to take a poem and use its structure as the basis for making one’s own poem—a way of learning what good poetry feels like.

The poem I read for you on Sunday was one of these poetry exercises (the original poem is “Cages”, by Jane Kenyon). I appreciate poetry because it slows me down, makes me see, makes me feel, helps me pierce the fabric of reality.

I found that immediately after the flooding in the interior and east of us in the Fraser Valley, the news of the devastation was so big that I couldn’t get my head or heart around it. I felt disassociated from it. By observing this, I realized that even when my body stays put, my heart and mind have developed ways to escape the difficult emotions that tragedy and hardship brings. There are so many ways we “flee from the trouble that is to come”.

Writing this poem slowed me down and allowed me to break through this protective barrier. It helped me to be present to the reality of the floods, the lives they touched, the communities they devastated. I was able to attune more to the multitude of lives around me, all unfolding simultaneously alongside my own. This, in turn, widened my compassion and gave me the energy and will to take action on their behalf.

This Advent, our question is “Where Does It Hurt?” The invitation in this question is to move towards, rather than away from, the pain that is in us and around us. Grappling with this question will invite us to feel, name, speak out, yearn, and address what is hurting us, hurting those around us, or hurting the earth. This question will disturb placid waters. This disturbance is holy.

Deep peace and blessings.

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint

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ADVENT
Holy Disturbance: Where Does It Hurt?
This Sunday we’ll have a booklet for you, to accompany you through this season.

Sun. Nov 28, 10:00 am Hope
All In Service 
Speaking Up
Speaker: Anne Smith 1 Sam 1:1-8

Sun. Dec 5, 10:00 am Faith
Reaching Out   
Speaker: Anne Smith Mark 5: 21-43

Sun. Dec 12, 10:00 am Joy
Pulling Apart           
Speaker: Anne Smith Luke 5: 17-26

Sun. Dec 19, 10:00 am Peace
Breaking Through 
Speaker: Anne Smith Luke 2: 1-7

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