Words fail me this evening. I can only share two images with you and speak to how they both encourage and sustain me. The first is a photo taken of a patch of crocuses outside an apartment building.
Last evening I drove around Sackville and parked in front of homes of some members of our congregations and called them on my cell phone.
In each case they came to the door or window and waved and we had a little chat. I think I saw glimmers of smiles from where I sat – a distance away. At the second to last home the resident was in a basement apartment and as I looked down into their window to see them waving up at me I was struck by the crocuses and snowbells making an appearance after winter. Hope was nurtured in me.
The second image is that of my dinner plate this evening – a plate of fish cakes and beans. I always enjoyed fish cakes but they took on a new meaning for me during my years at Springhill.
Regularly I would take a bag of salt cod into the prison “for my lunch” and it would end up in a pot at St. Luke’s where one of the Lifers would do a double boil on the cod and quickly mix up a batch of fish cakes for the group of us that were on retreat there for the day. We’d mix them while the potatoes and fish were still hot and then into the pan they’d go. And, when all of the cakes were cooked we’d sit down for a proper scoff.
Around that table I leaned what it was to hold hope for each other. I listened to stories of vulnerability and shame, fear and longing. We cried and laughed… and in that sharing, helped each other find a way to freedom and new life.
All this to say, we will make it through this crisis that we currently find ourselves in. Yes, there is much that is uncertain. Life as we know it will change. But what will not change is the power of a flower to remind us that ‘little things’ blossom beauty and nurture hope. What will not change is the resilience of the human spirit – cultivated in coming together around tables, singing songs from front porches and telephone calls as we wave at each other through windows.
This morning was spent doing pastoral care visits at the hospitals in Moncton after which I settled in for what has become the new normal in terms of meetings: Zoom. If you’ve not heard of it you will – a robust video conferencing software that works pretty darn well. After two Zoom meetings I made some pastoral calls by phone before heading out toward Rockport to do a couple of ‘front porch sanity checks’.
Tomorrow I have four Zoom meetings scheduled and will be in the office for much of the day. During the day I’ll try and craft what I called last week, ‘a hump day reflection’ – no promises… As I leave for the day I’ll call Teresa and Kathy and wave to them from in front of the Church!
Wednesday will see me to the hospitals in Moncton in the morning followed by time in the office getting ready for Sunday – which will likely involve yes, you guess it, another Zoom meeting with Carolyn Rushton who will be preaching this Sunday.
Thursday I’ll be doing pastoral calls in between Zooming after my morning stint at the Hospital. In the afternoon I hope to be able to finish up the liturgy and slides for Sunday and test of the equipment.
Friday and Saturday will be days off but I’ll still on call at the hospital – so, we’ll see what unfolds.
On Sunday we will gather again for A Sunday Gathering Online at 10AM via Facebook Live. Invite your friends. Start a Watch Party. Share the link. For those of you not on Facebook Jennie will send the link to saved video sometime Sunday afternoon.
I’ll close with one of the many poems that have been penned by those more eloquent than I that have the ability to speak the unspeakable and hold the immeasurable capacity for love that is ours as a people.
Yes, there is fear
Yes, there is isolation.
Yes, there is sickness.
Yes, there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that just after a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in Italy people are singing to each other
across the empty squares.
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear sounds of family around them.
They say that in the West of Ireland
a young woman is spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood
So that elders may have someone to call on.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little we really have.
To what really matters.To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes, there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death
But there can always be a rebirth of love
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
The birds are singing
The sky is clearing
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,