Friday, April 17, 2020

A Poem for a Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

--Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Thursday, April 16, 2020

T H A N K ❤️ Y O U  to our healthcare heroes and all essential workers helping us through this pandemic!    Chalk art: Kara Hoblin NY
🙏❤️ #alonetogether #healthheroes

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Gardener

She thought he was the gardener, but then he called her name, and she recognized the Lord.
How often Christ, the gardener whom I do not recognize, breaks through my tears or confusion or obstinance, calling my name, redirecting my attention, teaching me.  Sometimes, even in the moment, I recognize his voice, and my heart too proclaims ‘I have seen the Lord’. The artwork?
Jesus in a gardeners hat. These always make me smile.
Jesus, the gardener of my soul.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Easter in the Year 2020

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.

He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.

On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that virus which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed. 
- Malcolm Guite

A little guidance from Henri Nouwen

A waiting person is a patient person.
The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are
and live the situation out to the full
in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else
and therefore want to go elsewhere.
The moment is empty.
But patient people dare to stay where they are.
Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there.
Waiting, then, is not passive.
It involves nurturing the moment,
as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.
 -Henri Nouwen

Friday, April 10, 2020

Sister Nina and Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a Good Friday like no other. We are all Sheltering at home to stop the spread of Covid19.
We have a tradition in our family to gather after Good Friday services and color Easter eggs at our house. Needless to say that is not happening this year in the midst of this pandemic, but I can share with you the inspiration for it.
When I was converting in my late teens, Sr. Nina, a young nun I first met on Search retreat, invited me to the convent on the Fridays of Lent to make communion hosts or prepare various outreach packages and then stay for lunch. What she actually did was to show me, by being herself, how the grace of God is at work in us. Every Friday was the same; in the kitchen all morning and then we would sit at the big table with a small plate consisting of one peeled hard boiled egg and a serving of cottage cheese. Plain and simple.
On good Friday there was no preparation of communion hosts but Sr. Nina invited me for lunch after the noon service. There on the table was one egg in its shell and the same spoonful of cottage cheese.
After grace she shared, with the other sisters smiling ever so slightly, that the sorrow of Good Friday could only be born in the gladness of Easter Sunday. The eggshell was left on as the reminder of Easter and Mary Magdalene finding the tomb open. And suddenly all the sisters began cracking open their eggs, giddy in the tapping and all I remember after that was the burst of my tears and the simultaneous fullness of joy!
It has been such an important insight for me during the various sorrows of life and I love her for it. When I had children, I combined Good Friday with that same joy of Easter through the coloring of eggs. And invited the cousins and close family friends to join us. I really treasure the days we have had together over the years. It is a place for me to put the fullness of my heart on this day as we remember Jesus in his agony and death, and join ours and the world’s suffering to his in prayer, but also see, once again, the assurance of the boundless love and compassion of God.