“Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice. The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope. The horror is real, and so you make casseroles for your neighbor, organize an overseas clothing drive, and do your laundry. You can also offer to do other people’s laundry, if they have recently had any random babies or surgeries.
We live stitch by stitch, when were lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching. And maybe the stitching is crude, or is unraveling, but if it was precise, we’d pretend that life is just fine and running like a Swiss watch. This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often the cuckoo clock with rusty gears.
My pastor, Veronica, one Sunday told the story of a sparrow lying in the street with its legs straight up in the air, sweating a little under its feathery arms. A warhorse walks up to the bird and asks, ‘What on earth are you doing?’ The spirit replies, ‘I heard the sky was falling, and I wanted to help.’ The horse laughs a big, loud, sneering horse laugh, and says, ‘do you really think you are going to hold back the sky, with those scrawny little legs?’
And the sparrow says, ‘One does what one can.'”Ann Lammott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair
If you’ve heard me preach more than three times, odds are that you’ve figured out that Ann Lamott is one of my favourite authors. It seems she is able to capture and share wisdom from and for most every every occasion.
This past week I have been blessed in seeing the Church at work, people ‘doing what one can’ and thereby, making a difference in the lives of individuals and the larger world. It is such a privilege to be part of such compassionate and caring community of faith.
On behalf of all those that you serve, thank you for what you do.
I’ve borrowed the title for this Musing from the poem by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune without the words — And never stops — at all — And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard — And sore must be the storm — That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm — I’ve heard it in the chillest land — And on the strangest Sea — Yet, never, in Extremity, It asked a crumb — of Me.
Hope is the Thing… is also the title of Melissa Gauthier’s personal blog. I’ve long admired Melissa’s deeply vulnerable writing style in which she works through the pain of loss, rather than trying to skirt around it. Thank you Melissa for ‘doing what one can’ by sharing your story and being open to others sharing theirs! And yes, one day we will have you share in Church one Sunday soon!
Last evening, hope was nurtured in me as I gathered with the children of the Sackville United Church congregation for an Advent Godly Play followed my sharing of two Christmas stories with them. To hear their stories and laughter and see how much they’ve all grown in this time we’ve been apart was a hope filling thing. Thank you Anne and Andrea and all who participated for ‘doing what one can’.
Finally, this week I experienced hope in the form of The Singing Cook, Moyra Boone. Out of the blue Moyra called me on Friday and said, “I want to make Christmas dinners for those who may be isolated from family and friends on Christmas Day, can you help me.”
Back in May, in the midst of the pandemic, Moyra started a Facebook group where she would go live, sing a few songs and then ‘whip up a dish’. She has now hosted numerous shows and a number of baking auctions and she wants to give back. I am pleased to be working with Moyra to identify those in our community who may be isolated and separated from family on Christmas Day to provide a free, cooked and ready to eat Christmas dinner on Christmas Day! Thank you Moyra for ‘doing what one can’ and feeding our souls with laughter and love as well as good food!
Today I am taking the day to be at home. I’ll do some writing: planning and emails as well as some dreaming about how to make this Pandemic Advent and Christmas as interactive and meaningful as possible.
Tuesday will have me joining with the Preacher’s Help Group at 10:30AM and the rest of the day and all of Wednesday will be devoted to writing and recording bits and pieces for the Advent services and the online Christmas Eve service.
Thursday will be a work from home day doing all that is required for the Sunday Gathering on December 6th and on Friday evening and most of the day on Saturday I’ll be doing tech support for Santa as he conducts Zoom visits from Sackville United Church!