I'd like to share with you a lovely version of Psalm 104. Judy Lhamon sent it to me earlier in the week without knowing how deeply it would touch me. You see, watching "birds build their nests" and "storks [osprey?] make their dwellings" has been my joy and salvation amidst uncertainty and chaos.
I am also grateful to Judy for encouraging me to celebrate Earth Day on this, its 50th anniversary. One of the unanticipated gifts of the covid-19 pandemic is that the inhabitants of the world's major cities, including Hong Kong, Paris, and Los Angeles, are breathing fresh air for the first time in decades. As we live into the "new normal," let us pray that it includes a reverence for " this fragile Earth, our Island home."
Psalm 104:17-25 (St Helena Psalter)
17 The Trees of the Holy One are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which God planted,
18 in which the birds build their nests, and in which who's tops the storks make their dwellings.
19 The high hills are a refuge for the mountain goats, and the stony cliffs for the rock badgers.
20 You appointed the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows the time of its setting.
21 You make darkness that it may be night, in which all of the beasts of the forest prowl.
22 The lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God.
23 The sun rises, and they slip away and lay themselves down in their dens.
24 We go forth to our work and to our labor until the evening.
25 O Holy One, how manifold are your works; in wisdom you have made them all; the Earth is full of your creatures.
36 Let sinners be consumed out of the earth, and the wicked be no more.
37 Bless the Holy One, o my soul. Alleluia.
In last week's reflection I expressed gratitude that so many of you have been pressuring me :) to create a way to support the parish online. I said to you: " we are working on it, and hope to have a 'donate button' in place within a week or two." Well, from my lips (or perhaps keyboard) to God's ears, with assistance from Nate Solberg and Brianna Jewell who have been hard at work refreshing our website. So just for fun, go to www.stpaulstjames.org and check it out!
In case you have not heard – Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Easter season ("Eastertide") is 50 days long. I intend to celebrate every one of them and invite you to do so as well. The celebration can be as simple as wishing the world a happy Easter at the beginning of each morning. Say it in your mirror, or to your cat, or just someone who comes to mind, or just someone you actually call on the phone. And if "happy" does not feel like the right sentiment these days, try "joyful" or "blessed" or "Spirit-filled" or "peaceful". You decide.
My heart is full. Sharing Sunday mornings with you (albeit virtually) has been sheer joy. We will continue live streaming Sunday morning worship for the foreseeable future. Same time (10:30 am), same station (www.Facebook.com/stpaulstjames/videos). I would be remiss if I did not give a heartfelt shout-out to the amazingly talented service participants will make the livestream possible. They are: Jessica Armstrong, Will Cleary, Claire Cody, Andrew Fermo, Tudy Hill, and Jill Strawn.
Likewise, Evening Compline has been a joy. It has become, for me, a peaceful way to wind down the day in the company of saints. Beginning next week, the schedule will change. We will gather on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8 p.m. instead of Monday through Friday. Click on the following Link at the appropriate: https://zoom.us/j/962885125
For the next two Thursdays, you are in for an additional treat. The Reverend Nathan Empsall continues to lead an online Bible study that centers on "Faith, Hope, and Love," all of which, Paul reminds us, abide in us as the body of Christ. This week, the focus was on, "faith". Next, "Love" takes a blow. Expect thoughtful reflection, spirited conversation, and an amusing video or two. The Gatherings will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude in time for Compline. To access them use the same channel as for Compline: https://zoom.us/j/824248223
Shifting gears, several of you have asked me whether it is possible for folks to donate online. We are working on that, and hope to have a "donate" button in place within a week or two. In the meantime, I am grateful for your recognition that the ongoing work of The gathered community requires ongoing financial support.
I ended my weekly check-in with a reflection shared with me several weeks ago by our Parish administrator, Wendy Mcleod. I have held off on sharing it with you until now, when the questions "Will we learn from the pandemic?" and "What will be the new normal?" loom large.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listen to more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the Earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the Earth fully, as they had been healed.
– Kitty O'Meara