Pastoral Update

Friends



SPIRITUAL PRACTICES: DAY 5



It's FRIDAY.   Some of us have made it through a hectic work week, all while juggling kids and meal times and laundry.   Some of us must still go into work, perhaps anxiously so.   And some of us may have completed another week in isolation.


We know this new way of living is going to continue for a while.  So breathe. And listen carefully for God.  And be gentle with yourself.   It is Lent, after all, traditionally a time for "prayer, fasting and almsgiving."   How are you praying? From what are you fasting (refraining)? How are we giving to those in our community who have lost jobs, need masks, are hungry or homeless or alone or despairing? Let us keep listening, Good People! Let us keep listening for how God is leading us to be God's People in this time. For "they will know we are Christians by our love."


Our final spiritual practice is gratitude.   Yes, gratitude! - which has become a bit cliche lately, but the science on gratitude is real: cultivating our gratitude benefits us physically, spiritually and psychologically.   And at this time when the world as we know it is crumbling/transforming around us, noticing the good and beautiful things in our lives will sustain our spirits. This TED Talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast is one of my very favorites!   He talks about cultivating gratefulness, and says that "If you're grateful, you're not fearful."


Even in the midst of suffering and uncertainty, let us offer our gratitude for what is right in front of us: warm soup, popping daffodils, coffee makers, hot showers, the deep blue sky...





RIBBON PRAYERS


Over 20 of us gathered for coffee hour on Zoom on Tuesday!   It was very moving to see your beautiful faces!


An idea that emerged from this gathering is to create a physical place to bring our prayers.   So we invite you all to write your prayers on a colorful piece of ribbon or cloth, and tie it to the railing in front of the sanctuary.   In this way we can visualize the presence of one another, and hold each other's prayers in mind.   Feel free to visit the church to tie on your prayer at any time -- just be sure to practice good social distancing and we recommend not touching the railing. 


If you cannot get to the church and would like someone to tie a ribbon for you, you may email your prayer to Rev. Katrina








Try out these ideas for finding a faithful calm in these times:


Unplug

We need to stay informed, but we do NOT need to know the details of what is happening in every country around the world.  We do NOT need to pore over death statistics. Choose your news source, and commit to checking it only once or twice a day.



Breathe.

When I get anxious, my breath becomes shallow and short, and my chest tightens.  When I am able to notice this, I stop, and breathe deeply.  Try breathing in for six counts, and out for six counts. I like to pray a mantra as I breathe, such as: Be still and know - - that I am God - -. Read more about the benefits of controlled breathing.



Don't "awfulize." 

We are easily sucked into imagining a worst-case scenario. Become aware of this tendency, and rein it in! 


Create a focus.

Select an object that can cue you to stop and breathe, pray, and remember that God is with you.  This might be a rock by your bed, a candle on the table, or a prayer taped to your mirror.


Find beauty. 

Listen to fabulous music. Watch nature documentaries. Read poetry. Here is a wonderful spoken poem, shared by Sandy . And here is a gorgeous song, "We Are Not Alone", from a Mennonite church service.


You are in my thoughts and prayers every day, dear people! It is hard for me to not see you in person, and hard to not gather with you. We are apart, and yet we remain one.   We are in this together!   Blessings and peace to you all!


-Katrina