“Life only unfolds in moments. The healing power of mindfulness lies in living each of those moments as fully as we can, accepting it as it is as we open to what comes next.”
-Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living
A blessed residual effect from my Sabbatical has been an ongoing awareness of being more attentive to small happenings that cross my life’s threshold. When experienced only as solitary events, they can come and go without much notice but when added together, they become like a string of pearls that hold their own beauty. This past week has provided a cluster of events and interactions that are strong reminders of Holy Ground that is the foundation of this parish. Let me offer a couple of examples.
- Sunday marked our opening day for the program year. There was a palpable sense of The Holy Spirit moving through the sanctuary as individuals of all ages arrived, excited to begin again. It was particularly moving to see the numbers of children and youth enthusiastically being a part of the day. Following the service the congregation recessed to our front lawn where there was feast of homemade barbecue, and coleslaw made by Troop 35 and then desserts provided by the parish. And a wonderful addition to the festivities was live music.
- But there were other layers that were part of our opening day. As I greeted a young family with their children, they introduced me to the wife’s in laws. Oh I said cheerfully, ‘where have you come from’? There was a momentarily awkward silence. The grandmother replied with a solemn voice, ‘we have evacuated our home near Tampa due to the hurricane’. My heart sank as the news earlier that morning was not good for Tampa. She added ‘we do not know if we will have a house when we return’. I was struck by the dichotomy of this family’s pain and worry while our parish was in such a festive mood. I asked if I could call her Monday to see what news they might have heard. Thanks be to God, the news on Monday from them was very positive. How full of Grace however that they were able to worship with us in their time of anxiety.
- During the service, a member of the congregation experienced a medical emergency. Immediately the ushers notified several doctors who were in worship and ultimately 7 physicians and a nurse responded. The individual was taken to the hospital and the good news is that he is now fine. How reassuring that he was attended to so quickly and professionally.
- Wednesday evening Redeemer was the host for an interdenominational effort to fill 300 bags of necessities to be given out to the homeless. About 120 people from Christian churches, Jewish Synagogues and Mosques gathered in the parish hall. People of all ages, races, and backgrounds worked together on this project. What was thrilling was the planting of relationship within the communities. One Jewish attendee told me that she thinks The Church of the Redeemer is by far the most hospitable church she has ever visited. She has been to a number of our outside speakers in the past. She added, ‘what is different here is that people look at you in the eye.’
- Saturday our own Joanne Tetrault will be ordained as a priest at the Episcopal Cathedral at 11 am. All are welcome to attend! Needless to say, this is the pinnacle of her journey as she has responded to God’s call on her life.
- And then this coming Sunday, Bishop Sutton will be with us at all 3 services. During the 10 am service, 12 adults will be presented to him for confirmation, reaffirmation or to be received into the Episcopal Church. This is another ‘outward and visible sign’ of God working within this congregation!
Life at Redeemer has provided such rich moments of Grace….and just in this one week….a realization of: “Life only unfolds in moments. The healing power of mindfulness lies in living each of those moments as fully as we can, accepting it as it is as we open to what comes next.”
It makes me wonder about what lies ahead for next week!