After a couple of physically distanced visits this morning, I settled into the office and began to read, as is my tradition each Epiphany, the poem by Jan Richardson, “For Those Who Have Far to Travel” (see below).
On this Epiphany, Jan’s words have new meaning for me, as the road forward has been altered significantly and in fact, seems to change day by day as a result of the pandemic. Yes, while we may be glad to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror, there is much that remains uncertain and we can be thankful “that we see it only by stages as it opens before us”.
As we gather in the light of Epiphany, with its decidedly orange tint in the Province of New Brunswick, there remains much to be thankful for.
First, I am thankful for each of you and the many ways you have endeavored to sustain community and care for your neighbours near and far in these challenging times. I am also deeply grateful for your continued regular financial support of each of the congregations of the pastoral charge and the Mission and Service Fund. Your commitment and dedication is testament to your faithfulness. Finally, realizing no list could be exhaustive, I am by times, overcome with appreciation for the opportunity to share in ministry with two communities of faith who are, in the words of Jan Richardson, willing “to be faithful to the next step” and “press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue…”
To close, I am very aware that many of us are carrying significant burdens: illness, relationship challenges, loss of income, death of loved ones, to name but a few, and added to these challenges are the realities of life lived in the midst of a pandemic, isolation, limited social opportunities, masked faces, seemingly ever-changing rules and, the knowledge, that even with vaccines being distributed, that we have “far to travel”.
Please know that you are not travelling alone, that while you may be required to be physically distanced, even isolated, that there is no need for you to be emotionally or spiritual distanced or isolated. Reach out to one another using technology. Find creative ways to stay connected. Avail yourself of the services of those who see to offer support: clergy, counsellors and therapists – there is no shame is asking another to come alongside you for some of the journey. We travel best together!
This coming Sunday, as per the decision of each of the Executives of the congregations of the Pastoral Charge we will revert to gathering via Facebook Live at 10AM for our Sunday Gathering – please plan now to join us as we recall the gift of life that is ours in light and water.
A Blessed Epiphany to you,
For Those Who Have Far to Travel An Epiphany Blessing by Jan Richardson If you could see the journey whole you might never undertake it; might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known toward the place you know not. Call it one of the mercies of the road: that we see it only by stages as it opens before us, as it comes into our keeping step by single step. There is nothing for it but to go and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes: to be faithful to the next step; to rely on more than the map; to heed the signposts of intuition and dream; to follow the star that only you will recognize; to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path; to press on beyond distractions beyond fatigue beyond what would tempt you from the way. There are vows that only you will know; the secret promises for your particular path and the new ones you will need to make when the road is revealed by turns you could not have foreseen. Keep them, break them, make them again: each promise becomes part of the path; each choice creates the road that will take you to the place where at last you will kneel to offer the gift most needed— the gift that only you can give— before turning to go home by another way.