Sunday afternoon at Farnham was a joy! Just being together. The outdoor Epiphany bonfire blazed and crackled, thanks to the after Christmas greenery you brought to feed the fire.
And yet a special memory of that late afternoon was seeing each of you who came to light a tiny candle around the creche scene during the “walk-through” of the sanctuary. Did the glow of your candle flame reach deep within your spirit and light up something there?
I am watching too much news. How about you? I seem to be caught between some idea that I should not miss any element of what is going on in our country. Yet wondering if the surge of violence, actions, and reactions, are, like a virus, infecting too many of us. That maybe I need to shelter myself from continual exposure.
One of the highlights of my week is working with Ben and Arline to select music for our weekly worship offerings. How important our music is to nourish body and soul! Even though COVID has silenced our singing our heart and soul can strum with the sounds. Last Sunday we began with “In the bleak mid-winter” and ended with “Let there be peace on earth.” Musical bookends that voiced the stark reality and yet desperate hope for these trying times. I’m reminded of the quote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense”) To which I respond, “Yes, and women’s too!”
The Gospel readings for the next two Sundays are provocative given current events. On January 17 Jesus turns and looks piercingly into the eyes and hearts of those he wants to be his disciples and says, “Follow Me!” The following Sunday the Gospel theme is “Answering the Call.” What in our twenty-first century is asking us to follow among all the compelling possibilities? How are we responding? How are we choosing a way forward? What pathways are beckoning?
Speaking of a way forward – it is that time again for Annual Meetings, election of two new vestry members for each of our churches, and then planning and discerning the next to come in an unfolding time. Dear Lord, let there be light!
As I ponder all this and much more daylight day is slipping quietly over the life of the river I so dearly love. The river’s surface is like glass, smooth, almost a mirror. Its surface disturbed only slightly by a few ducks here and there. They glide so serenely yet I know their little webbed feet are working hard below the surface. I resonate as I try to appear serene while so much is going on beneath the surface in my efforts to steer an onward course.
The sky is a lovely blue. I have been hearing geese call to one another the last few days as they skim the unseen but ever-present air currents flowing above the river. I have not seen the heron couple recently, the ones who frequent a favorite fishing spot out front. Maybe they are sheltering in place in the little creek nearby. And the local pair of eagles? An occasional glimpse of one or the other perching on a limb of the big pine tree on my riverbank makes my spirit soar. .
Speaking of tree limbs and birds – a big one fell from my big pine the other night during a high wind. That evergreen tree I call my guardian tree. A limb so big I could not move it myself. I have been contemplating that limb – probably a favorite of the birds that like to perch in it. I remembered a quote from some spiritual “classic” I read years ago. It went something like this:
A bird was perched on the limb of a tree.
As the limb began to give way beneath her, she sang.
Singing, knowing she had wings.
Grace . . . Hope . . . Peace . . . Onward