“That Was the Week That Was” was a British TV show from the 60s that took a humorous look at the current events of the past week, a precursor to Saturday Night Live.   Even I was too young in those days to remember the show, but oddly, the song from the beginning of the show still rattles around in my head.   “That was the week that was; it’s over let it go.  It started way above par and ended way below.”  (ok, I didn’t really remember all the words, thank you Google.)    Here on this Friday the sentiment is still true.  That was the week that was, and what a week it was! 

I started on Sunday, struggling to keep myself in the mode of worship and by Monday had chatted with so many who are struggling with loneliness and depression.  The pandemic rages on while the vaccine rollout continues to crash websites and baffle most people.   I am lucky;  my daughter watched the websites and  led me to sign up here and there.  She led me to a site where I got an appointment just hours before the site crashed.  Now the question is, will they still have vaccine when my turn comes. 

I started to blog about ritual that help us stay connected to God and to each other.  Rituals give us a small sense of control in a world that seems so out of control.

Then on Wednesday, like many of you I participated in one of the greatest rituals in our nation,  the inauguration.   It was such a high.   Even without the crowds and some of the traditions, the ceremony brought us all the ritual of the transfer of political power.  I for one, clung to the formality of the process and procedure and the American version of pomp and circumstance. (Seriously,  did you check out Michelle Obama’s outfit,  such a trend setter.) 

 I followed the lead of the TV anchors who would say with the excitement of breaking news,  “let’s cut to the capital where the President is signing papers.”    And I would eagerly respond. “Oh let’s.”   Every signature, every moment was part of the process, part of the ritual.    Watching it and appreciating every element made me a part of the ritual.   That is the power of ritual even when only observed.

There were so many moments of the inauguration that sent chills down my spine.   President Biden’s speech calling for unity.   The songs by Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez and of course, Garth Brooks singing Amazing Grace (acapella.)    Still, the poem by Amada Gorman took my breath away.   I include it in today’s blog because there is no better way to end “the week that was.”   Read it again.  Let the words sink in.  Each time I read it; some new portion speaks to me.    Yes, read it again because that is how we let go of “the week that was” and begin climbing the hill in front of us.  

Grace and Peace

Pastor Myra

The Hill we Climb   by Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade

We’ve braved the belly of the beast

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace

And the norms and notions

of what just is

Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours

before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president

only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished

far from pristine

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us

but what stands before us

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid

If we’re to live up to our own time

Then victory won’t lie in the blade

But in all the bridges we’ve made

That is the promise to glade

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it’s the past we step into

and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth

in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future

history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was

but move to what shall be

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

we will rise from the windswept northeast

where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

we will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it

Note: A copy of today’s Examen prayer from Lunch Break Devotional is at the end of this blog.

As a young girl I was always envious of my Catholic friends who made the sign of the cross. It seemed like such a cool way to connect with Christ. I remember crossing myself during prayer at our Baptist Church and my mother was beside herself.  For her it was a badge of Catholicism.  For me it was simply a sign of the cross.   I liked the motion, the action that reminded me of Jesus in my life.  It was ritual and I understood its importance long before I could articulate it. 

Interesting note: the practice of making the sign of the cross, dates back to the early Christians, made as a mark on their foreheads.    In 211 AD Tertullian, an early Christian writer who said:  “In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross.”    I love this quote.   This ritual, the sign of the cross is connecting Christ to every part of their daily lives. 

Still, ritual is a word that is tossed about in our culture and used sometimes used interchangeably with routine.  There is a big difference between ritual and routine and it is important to take a few minutes and look at these differences more closely. 

Routines are the actions we do regularly.  We brush our teeth, often at the same time and in the same way every day. I routinely take a cup of coffee upstairs and drinking it signals the start of my day.   It is routine, not ritual. 

Ritual is defined as:  “solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.”  Some definitions include repetitiveness. 

It does sound a lot like “routine”, but the big difference is that ritual is not about the action itself.  The biggest difference between ritual and routine is that:

Ritual connects us with something beyond ourselves,

something bigger than ourselves.

I see ritual as this human attempt to reach out and connect with God.  It is the way we remind ourselves that there is something bigger, more powerful to which we can connect.   Prayer in itself, is not ritual, but we have ritual prayers that help us feel more comfortable talking with God.  

Today on Lunch Break Devotional (on Facebook at noon or anytime after…) we are exploring the Examen.  It is a ritual of prayer and self-reflection that can open the door to deeper prayer.   We are beginning with a “response” prayer… where I will say a few words and we all repeat some lines together.  

Rituals not only bring us closer to God, they bring us closer together.  They can also help us transition from one part of life to another.  We talked about that yesterday as grieving women in the post-Civil War transitioned through the stages of grieving.   We’ll look at these aspects in the days to come. 

For today, think of a time when a ritual felt special to you.  Maybe you felt connected in some way.  Maybe you felt closer to God.  Think about that and ask yourself why.  Then think of a ritual that might be helpful in your day, today. 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Myra

Examen Prayer

God, thank you.

I thank you, God, for always being with me, but especially I am grateful that you are with me right now.

God, send your Holy Spirit upon me.

God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and warm my heart that I may know where and how we have been together this day.

God, let me look at my day.

God, where have I felt your presence, seen your face, heard your word this day?       

God, where have I ignored you, run from you, perhaps even rejected you this day?

God, let me be grateful and ask forgiveness.

God, I thank you for the times this day we have been together and worked together.

God, I am sorry for the ways that I have offended you by what I have done or what I did not do.

God, stay close.

God, I ask that you draw me ever closer to you this day and tomorrow.

God, you are the God of my life—thank you.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am writing this week about rituals, but I begin with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  because I think it is important to recognize that we are truly in a time of challenge and controversy.   I see the effect bubbling up all around me, not just in the news, but in the phone calls and texts and email from those around me who are struggling.   It’s not even a matter of where we stand…. it feels more like, “how do we keep standing at all.”   I am writing about rituals because we need to look for ways to find some things that we can cling to.   We need to find ways that we can engage with God and each other.   

Rituals are an important part of life because they help us engage, help us connect and help us feel some modicum of control, especially when life feels out of control.  

One thing I learned quickly as a pastor is that funerals need ritual and formality.   There is a sense of comfort in structure and attention to ritual.  Facing the grief of death,  we hold tight to the familiar.   We wear black, we play certain songs, read certain scriptures,  we sit shivah.  

I found an interesting new book today by Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian, the former president of Harvard University and the first female president of the prestigious university (I like her already.)    She wrote a fascinating book about the Civil War focusing on how grief reshaped our nation and the role ritual played in healing.  It’s called “The Republic of Suffering.”    

Note:  it is not lost on me that on this day when we remember Martin Luther King, I find myself immersed in a book about the Civil War, a war which ended slavery and began the long road to equality for African Americans. 

I found this book while researching rituals because some interesting rituals emerged in the aftermath of the Civil War.   By 1865 historians believe that every American household had been touched by death from the war.   600 thousand soldiers died in this war more than any other conflict, (including both World Wars… combined).  When adjusted against the size of the American population, the Civil War death rate was six times that of World War II.  And these numbers do not account for the thousands of civilians who died in the war.   In the mid-1860s grief and suffering became a way of life.   How does a nation recover from so much loss?   In her book, Drew Faust points to some rituals that evolved, rituals around death and grieving.   Women in both the North and the South found themselves in mourning for so long that the ritual itself lost it significance.  Still as Faust puts it, “Many women struggled to find the garments that would enable them to participate in this rite of passage and display of respect.”   An elaborate system of color and time emerged.   One might wear black for a year (if the loss was of a husband or son) then progress to gray and lavender as a sign of “half mourning.”   “Formal observance of mourning created a sense of process, encouraging the bereaved to believe they could move through their despair, which might evolve through stages of grief represented by their changing clothing.”   

Can you see how this progression of color in their clothes was not just a signal to the world, but a signal to themselves that the mourning was progressing?   We need these external rituals to remind us that life is moving forward.   

So what is our pandemic ritual?  How do we keep ourselves from getting “stuck” in the loneliness and the sadness, the grief and the confusion?  Even in quarantine, life is moving forward.   It’s time to move from the black to the lavender. 

More tomorrow. 

Grace and Peace

Pastor Myra

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?  (Does anybody really care…)

Anyone from my generation will read those opening words and immediately hear the horns of Chicago Transit Authority.   I woke up this morning thinking about that song and not because I was nostalgic for 70s music.   In the tedium and sameness of these pandemic days, there are moments when I have lost all sense of time and day.  It feels like everyday is one where the center point is something on my TV.  Could today be Masterpiece Theater,  could it be a new movie, could it be a church service?    With on-demand and continuous youtube even these standard signals of the proper day lose their power. 

In the midst of the most inconvenient times, some parts of life have become far too convenient and I for one, am suffering from that.   I am typing this on Sunday,  I know that because I got email alerts that services were coming on-line.   Nestled in my fuzzy robe and coffee in hand,   I pull up a worship service and begin to watch.  But, dang, my coffee cup is empty.   I pause the service and head downstairs for a refill.   The dog follows and needs to go outside so  (no judgement, please) I put my coat over my robe and take the dog for a quick walk.   Suddenly it doesn’t feel like Sunday anymore.   I begin to think of all those Sunday’s in the past, growing up on the western side of Nashville, going with my family to Harpeth Heights Baptist Church.   I laugh to myself, remembering all those car rides with my sister and I bickering with our mother over how we looked as we headed to church.   We were wearing too much makeup; our skirts were too short; our hair was not properly brushed (mine most likely not brushed at all….).    “Do you think God cares how we look,”  we would fire back.  “I’m not remembering any dress code when Jesus preached on the mountain.”     “Seriously,  we are going to church to worship the God who loves us ‘just as we are.’ Who cares how we look?”   (note:  arguments on the way to our church were always peppered with scripture and hymns totally out of context…)

Our car headed into the church driveway and stopped in our familiar parking spot.  My father turned around to address the rebels in the back seat.   He had a slight clinch in his jaw to indicate that this discussion was coming to an end.    “ I care.”    

And he did care.  My father was coming to worship his God and he was bringing his family to worship and connect with God.  It was important.   It was ritual and it took me a long time to understand that ritual is not about what God needs.   We need ritual. 

So back to the present, you know, where I’m walking my dog on Sunday morning with my coat over by robe.  I remember something the pastor said in those few minutes before I cut out.   He invited us to worship and suggested that we light a candle and prepare our hearts and minds to come into the presence of God.   

I came back in and got dressed (ok yoga pants; let’s don’t get crazy),  found a candle, lit it and began again.   Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?

It’s Sunday  and in the words of my father,  I care. 

Grace and Peace

Myra

Note:   Divinity school doesn’t begin until the 26th, so for this next week.  I’ll be blogging on the importance of ritual in the days of pandemic.     

Here we are in 2021 and I don’t know about you, but it feels a lot like 2020.   We are all still gathering virtually. We are waiting for the freedom that we anticipate will come from a vaccine.  But there are so many unanswered questions about the vaccine.  When we will get it? What happens when we do; will we be free do move about?  Will it be effective on the new strains?   Of course there is all of the election drama that filled our days at the end of 2020.   The drama actually heightened in the early days of this new year and we approach next week and the inauguration with trepidation and more than a little fear. 

I talked about it today on Lunch Break Devotional on Facebook.   God does not call us to live in fear or worry or trepidation.   God calls us to find the “unforced rhythm of grace.”   From the Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30. 


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 

 In a blog from three years ago (Lent in 2018),  I talked about how odd this word “rhythm”  seems at first look.  What could this “unforced rhythm” be all about?    Can it be about finding the “beat”  ..that steady of beat of our lives, that is the grace and love of God.   It beats with our hearts in sync,  in good times and bad.  It brings us peace and comfort amid the chaos. Take a deep breat the find the beat, the steady, unforced rhythm of God’s grace and love.

We’ll continue to explore this idea in the days to come.  Take care; stay safe.

Grace and Peace,

Myra

Today we meet the author Marcus Borg, a noted theologian, New Testament scholar and a leading authority on the life of Jesus.   His voice on imagination is important for our Advent Adventure.   In 2014, just months before he passed away, Borg wrote his final book called:  Convictions:  How I Learned What Matters Most (which I highly recommend).   The last paragraphs of the book (and let that sink in… the last written words from this great author and theologian) are about imagination.  

“In modern English, ‘imagining’ may seem to be a frivolous activity, not serious, even escapist. We sometimes think, ‘Imagine if you won the lottery,’ or ‘Imagine that a spaceship landed in New York City.’ For many, the imagination is about fantasy—imagining something wildly improbable. But the imagination in another sense is much more important. It is where our images reside—our images of what is real, what life is about, and how, then, we should live. In this sense, consciously or unconsciously, everybody lives, or tries to live, in accord with their imaginations.

For Christians in particular, the imagination is the home of our images of God, the Bible, Jesus, salvation, and more. Together, these images combine to create a vision of God’s character and dream. They matter greatly, for they shape what we think the Christian life is about. What’s it all about? What’s the Christian life all about? It’s about loving God and loving what God loves. It’s about becoming passionate about God and participating in God’s passion for a different kind of world, here and now. And the future, including what is beyond our lives? We leave that up to God.”  (Borg, Marcus J.. Convictions (p. 232). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.)

And there we have it.  Our Advent adventure into Imagination takes us to the “home of our images of God.”    And what can we find there, in our “homes”?    Passion for God and participation in “God’s passion for a different kind of world.”   

We began the week with a man at the piano playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the site of deadly terrorist attack.  Why did he do that? Because he wanted to bring hope, because he could still imagine a world not scarred by violence.  We continued with the visions of our “wild souls” because that is exactly what this world needs, courageous, wild souls.   Imagine a world where we love like God loves; imagine the kind of world that God envisions and be willing to work for it.   

The Advent Adventure into Imagination continues next week… have a great weekend.

Grace and Peace at Advent,

Pastor Myra

My mind is rolling down a path of “connecting words” this morning… come along.   Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming or arrival.”    Say that word out loud… “Ad vent us.”  What do you hear?   I’m hearing the English word “adventure.”   With a little digging, I find that Advent and “adventure” come from the same Latin root word.  Originally the word “adventure” meant “a thing about to happen, or to reach or arrive at.”   Through the years some new meanings were attached to “adventure,” like “exciting incident, remarkable occurrence in life, the account of marvelous things.”   You know where I’m going with this. (thanks for indulging me this morning…) Advent is an adventure.  I think it’s time to help  Advent evolve and explore its “wild soul.”  

To find our wild (Advent) soul today, let’s begin with a poem by John O’Donohue called “A Prayer for Your Wild Soul”

‘A PRAYER FOR YOUR WILD SOUL
Give yourself time to make a prayer that will become the prayer of your soul. Listen to the voices of longing in your soul. Listen to your hungers. Give attention to the unexpected that lives around the rim of your life. Listen to your memory and to the inrush of your future, to the voices of those near you and those you have lost. Out of all of that attention to your soul, make a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul, yet tender enough for your shy and awkward vulnerability; that has enough healing to gain the ointment of divine forgiveness for your wounds; enough truth and vigour to challenge your blindness and complacency; enough graciousness and vision to mirror your immortal beauty. Write a prayer that is worthy of the destiny to which you have been called.”

And that’s our assignment for today:  write an Advent prayer “worthy of the destiny to which you have been called.” 

Grace and Peace at Advent

Pastor Myra

Welcome to the Advent Blog.  It is a different kind of Advent and this will be a different kind of blog.   We are going to Imagine,   Sit back, take a deep breath and open your mind to an Advent of Imagination…

On November 15th of 2015 a 34 year old pianist named Davide Matello pushed his piano out into the street in Paris, to a spot outside the Bataclan Theater, one of the deadliest spots in the terrorist attacks the night before.  Matello took his seat at the blood stained piano and began to play John Lennon’s “Imagine.” When I picture that in my imagination, it is quite a scene.   Amid the destruction and the chaos of the terrorist attacks, a man sits at a piano and calls the world to “Imagine.”    As I write this blog, like so many of us, I am in isolation at my house, sheltering from a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 1.5 million people worldwide,  more than 250 thousand in the U.S.  Quarantined in our homes, Advent will have a different look, a different pace, this year.   For this journey to Christmas, we will need our imaginations.  Albert Einstein said:  “Logic gets you from A to Z, but imagination takes you there.” 

Imagination allows us to experience Advent in new ways, ways that are not tied to or limited by space or place.  When Matello finished playing in the streets of Paris, he told reporters: “I wanted to be there to try and comfort and offer a sign of hope.”

Hope is the first candle of Advent.  Light your candle, then drag your piano into the street and sing the song of hope.   How does that song go?… “The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices…”

Grace and Peace at Advent

Pastor Myra

We are shaped by our experiences.  Our lives are marked by where we were in those “life moments.” I remember sitting in front of the TV set with my parents in November of 1963, watching the news footage of the shooting and death of President John F. Kennedy.   I remember being in my office in Birmingham on September 11th of 2002.  Someone ran into my office and turned on the TV as the second plane hit the towers.  Years from now, we will be calibrating our lives pre and post Covid-19.    

But even more than those “big” moments, the smaller moments, the lesser life experiences get us ready us for where God might lead.  Our day to day experiences can prepare us to be useful in the midst of the next “big” moment.     

In 1975, Channel 5 in Nashville purchased live remote capabilities. They were big trucks with sattelite dishes on the top of each truck, filled with switchers and monitors and all kinds of electronics. It was an incredible investment and unheard of for a TV market the size of Nashville at that time .   But the owners of the station wanted to make a statement and get some attention.   I did my first reporting ever,  as a live feed from a Vanderbilt football game.  Yes, I started as a sports reporter, not because I know anything about sports, I do not,  but because there was an opening and I went for it.   The second important factor in this story is that when a station the size of ours made that kind of investment…the return on investment factor meant that we would be “live” every night, every news cast …. No matter what.   We jokingly called it “live from the hot dog stand.”   Of course, when there was a prison riot and through various weather emergencies, the live feeds would be invaluable.  And going live every night (even if occasionally from the hot dog stand) would teach us how to use the technology.   I learned TV news from the perspective of LIVE on Five.    Going live, going remote became second nature to me.  

Fast forward some 45 years.   Last Sunday we did our service as a live stream from the sanctuary with about 6 people on hand.  We live stream every Sunday, so it was natural for us.  Still we had some ways to improve and were working on those when we got the next curve ball.  Several of us were exposed to a confirmed and active case of the virus.   Pastor James and I went into isolation and the rest of the church staff scattered to work from home.    Not having our service on Sunday never crossed my mind.   If we could not be at the church we would simply be coming from remote locations.   And yes, 45 years later, the camera and the equipment have vastly changed, but the principles and the basics are still the same.   However the signals are finding their way through the air you can still record from multiple sites and bring a story or a report OR a service together. 

Just to reinforce the message, God also reminded me that my son-in-law whose office is just outside my bedroom,  does live streaming for a living.  I often say that sometimes God is just not very subtle with me.

So we are “on”…. Sunday should be something special.  In many ways extraordinary, because God’s message of hope and love will not be contained.  God is making sure that we get the word out to as many as we can. If it seems like the sky is falling, our God sits above the sky.  

We’ll be on at 9 and 11 on Sunday.   It will certainly not look the same; but it will carry the same message.   Look for it and look out, God is on the move.

Grace and Peace,

Myra

Go Ahead, God.  I’m listening. 

I have been trying to write a blog about the fear of disapproval for the past four days… I can’t.  I simply cannot.  Like so many of you, I am in quarantine.   I am so grateful for all of the technological ways that we can reach out. I have googled and face timed and talked on the phone more in the past three days that I have ever done.   At the same time, I have this feeling that I am missing something, missing a chance to hear what God might be saying in this space that is like no other.  I turn today’s blog over to a voice that I go to so often when I want to find God.  Here are the words from Richard Rohr in today’s meditation.  

“Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation. 

We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love. 

But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us. Now is no time for an academic solidarity with the world. Real solidarity needs to be felt and suffered. That’s the real meaning of the word “suffer” – to allow someone else’s pain to influence us in a real way. We need to move beyond our own personal feelings and take in the whole. This, I must say, is one of the gifts of television: we can turn it on and see how people in countries other than our own are hurting. What is going to happen to those living in isolated places or for those who don’t have health care? Imagine the fragility of the most marginalized, of people in prisons, the homeless, or even the people performing necessary services, such as ambulance drivers, nurses, and doctors, risking their lives to keep society together? Our feelings of urgency and devastation are not exaggeration: they are responding to the real human situation. We’re not pushing the panic button; we are the panic button. And we have to allow these feelings, and invite God’s presence to hold and sustain us in a time of collective prayer and lament. 

I hope this experience will force our attention outwards to the suffering of the most vulnerable. Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness. It takes two. There has to be the lover and the beloved. We must be stretched to an encounter with otherness, and only then do we know it’s love. This is what we call the subject-subject relationship. Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts (1 Corinthians 13:13).” 

To that I can only say…”AMEN”

Grace and Peace,

Myra