I was recently reminded of a short and beautiful quote attributed to Maya Angelou: “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” I have no idea what the context was at the time she said or wrote this but my oh my, it certainly takes on new depth and meaning for me today.
As we have said for weeks now, COVID-19 cannot keep Easter from coming and the Resurrection from happening- and guess what- we were right! Thank you to all the many people who rolled up their virtual sleeves and contributed to our joy-filled Sunday celebration! To all the musicians, readers, tech crew, staff and then everyone who joined us online, I offer a deep bow of gratitude to each of you. These are days we have indeed never seen before, and because of you, many of them are in fact quite wonderful in any number of ways.
I freely admit this is hard. I am not as comfortable as some might think standing or sitting in front of a camera (or Kim’s iPhone) and talking as if you are right in front of me.
I miss our time in close proximity- hearing and seeing your faces at least once a week as we gather to stay connected. Weeks without sharing in the Eucharist- the tangible reminder of God’s love and presence and connection through the bread and wine have created a palpable aching in my soul.
And yet and still, we are growing, serving, connecting, giving more generously than ever before, and finding new ways to build relationships with the tools we have and for all of that I am amazed and delighted.
Your wardens and vestry and staff are staying closely connected and supportive of each other. And even on the days when I am pulling my hair (what there is to pull) out trying to figure out something for our next online service, I get a gift, like I did today. I open my email and see your beautiful faces and hear your familiar voices in a video file of one of the upcoming Sunday readings or prayers. There you are on my screen and I don’t feel so far away in that moment- thank you.
So, we have traveled to the empty tomb together and proclaimed that Christ has risen indeed one more time! Praise be to God. As we gather again on this Sunday we continue our Easter celebration with the 50 days of Easter- a season of New Beginnings. And while we still don’t know what the world around us will look like in the coming weeks and months, what we do know is we continue to have each other, a God that is showing up in our lives through the connections, prayers, silence, laughter, tears and lives we faithfully attend to day by day. And for that I am so grateful.
I offer you this beautiful poem today by one of my favorites, John O’Donohue. It is a small gift to remind us all that Eastertide- this season of promised new and eternal life, is in fact a season of New Beginnings. I adore and miss you all.
May you never forget that you are loved,
For a New Beginning (by John O’Donohue)
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
where your thoughts never think to wander,
this beginning has been quietly forming,
waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
feeling the emptiness grow inside you,
noticing how you willed yourself on,
still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
and the grey promises that sameness whispered,
heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
and out you stepped onto new ground,
your eyes young again with energy and dream,
a path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
you can trust the promise of this opening;
unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
that is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
for your soul senses the world that awaits you.