St Francis is the patron saint of animals so many churches offer animal blessing services, usually held on or around October 4th. At my church, St Peter’s Episcopal this morning we had morning prayers and a blessing of the animals rolled into one service. It is always fun to have our four-legged friends join us. All we had this morning was dogs and cats but, in the past, we have had farm animals, snakes, and spiders. All things great and small have been blessed at this service.
Happy National Coffee Day to all my friends who can’t make it through the day without a cup or three. Enjoy your favorite brew. For me it’s Tim Hortons.
Compassion is powerful. It is the act of feeling concern and pity for the misfortunes of others. It is so needed in a world where people are impacted by the Coronavirus, wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and regular situations of poverty, hunger, depression, and the like. Sometimes it means forgiving huge debts that would be impossible to repay like those who have a tough time making rent, paying medical bills, and the like.
Compassion is powerful in that it can take the pressure off people who are at their breaking point. Desperate people who through no fault of their own cannot seem to get ahead. Sometimes the system just doesn’t work for them. It means being fair and just which can mean the difference in the lives of those who need it most. The important thing to know is that you could be the person in peril, facing a mountain you cannot climb and one paycheck away from losing it all. We are all in that boat whether we like to admit it or not.
Compassion is powerful in that it works both ways. Everyone is worthy of it. Now that is not to say that one should compassion be a way for someone to take advantage of you, but it can be a way that shows a better way of living.
Compassion is powerful in that you can find your way of doing that for others. Now is not the time to be focused on ourselves but to make the world a better place by giving our friends and neighbors a much-needed break. Harness that power you must give breath and life to those in need.
Like many in the faith, community worship has been done online in this time of Covid-19. My church’s service this morning which was recorded and streamed on YouTube featured our high school seniors who are graduating and going on to their next chapter in life, college. These seniors talked about their life experiences as it relates to their faith. We also had other kids who read scripture and prayers who will have their own recognitions in the future.
Last night I heard former U.S. President Barack Obama speak and he charged the youth of today to claim their leadership role and to do their best in the process. His speech was not about him but the students who have been through a lot in their lives.
Just think about it. These young people have seen and experienced events like 9/11, natural disasters, war, and now Coronavirus. To have their proms and graduation ceremonies canceled isn’t fair but they have taken it in stride. Through their lives, they have been trained for this moment in time. It is safe to say they will face this challenge with resolve and perhaps it’s preparing even further for the road ahead.
I choose to believe that my higher power (I call him/her God) is with each of us in these days we are in. Maybe those young adults who are graduating can teach us all a thing or two. Perhaps we just need to follow their lead. Being teachable and flexible will make life better for all. The future is in the next minute and its time to realize that our young are going to make things happen.
A sunset from Grace Point Episcopal Retreat Camp near Kingston, Tennessee.
This Easter morning was a different one. Instead of gathering at church for worship it was watching via YouTube. Many churches have celebrated in a similar way. For me it was good to have a shared experience with other believers who are doing the same. For many this is a time of life defeating death. Thanks to technology this is possible and it seems to have more meaning in this time of pandemic. My priest and the staff at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, TN have done great work in this new normal we are going through.
This past Sunday my priest delivered morning prayers on Facebook live in the place of our normal worship service which was canceled due to the Coronavirus. Many houses of worship are doing the same.
My religious study group Education for Ministry, did the same thing Monday. Via the web meeting service Zoom, we gathered together from 8 different places online to keep going. It truly is amazing how technology is bringing people together.
Fellowship is about gathering together and it was great to be able to do this to have a meaningful discussion about how we have been spiritually impacted by Coronavirus and to share how this is changing our worship experience. We also discussed our assigned readings on the book of Hebrews from The Bible.
I think this system of electronic gatherings is what will keep us together during these uncertain times. We have some members of the group who don’t need to be getting out and about. Gathering together in person is what we prefer but this is a great system to be sure we are checking in with one another and keeping safe.
Social distancing is something that is smart in the crisis of Coronavirus/Covid-19. This morning my church decided not to gather in person but offered morning prayer online via YouTube as a way to keep our community connected during this season of Lent. Many houses of worship do this on a regular basis but for my church, this was something new and different. Typically we have music and communion that goes along with our mass but it was OK to forego those elements for a time.
Hopefully, we will be back together sometime during Holy Week and other things will return to normal as possible.