11 April 2020
Holy Saturday

Dear Siblings in Christ Jesus, the clergy of Maine— 

Yesterday when Dr. Shah and Governor Mills briefed the state of Maine about COVID-19, they each spoke with clarity and compassion. Listening to them, I felt an overwhelming wave of assurance, even palpable hope. 

I paused then to consider what else fills me with hope right now. It took only a few seconds — I thought of you, all of you: the retired and active, deacons and presbyters, living in Maine and living elsewhere.

You are serving the people of God.

You are figuring out new ways to keep fasts and feasts.

You are loving one another.

You are inspiring kindness and gentleness in and among our communities.

You are filling the world with palpable hope. 

During a sabbatical in 2017, I began work on a biography of Theodore Parker Ferris, rector at Trinity Church in Boston from 1942 to 1972. Dr. Ferris’s preaching and prayer-writing are lavish legacies to twentieth-century Anglican spirituality.

I thought of Dr. Ferris recently as his prayer from the ministration to the sick section of the Prayer Book has been used a great deal this past month: “This is another day, O Lord…” (p. 461).

Among Dr. Ferris’s many compositions, I have a favorite which I have adapted and offer to you on this Holy Saturday: 

Lift us, O God, from the lower levels of life up into those higher regions where our spirits can grow into their full stature.
Give us, in this peculiar time of staying home and maintaining health, the new life that is in Jesus Christ.
We long for his life and way to fill us, so that we may share it with all who are waiting to be raised from the dead.

When you celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I will be with you, celebrating all the ways you join God in bringing us from death into life.

Faithfully, and with my deepest respect and affection,