Calm and Kindness go a long way…

Dear Friends,

It’s not life as usual. As I write, all people in Marin and seven other counties are on strict guidelines to stay secluded except for essential business. Such an order appears inevitable for Sonoma. Our anxiety may be heightened further, but we can remember that the point of this seclusion is protection.

We don’t like to be isolated from one another, but we are still The Church. As Christ’s church we worship and pray, reach out beyond our walls and love one another.

  • Each week, I’ll send a note of encouragement to you as I am today, with some tools for calm and spiritual sustenance.
  • On Sundays, we can still worship together through our virtual worship service, knowing that others you love in this church are praying for you and the world at the same time. Let’s try that… the Holy Spirit is wild, uncontained, and always connects us! If you missed last Sunday’s service, click here: Sunday Worship
  • Pick up the phone and call someone at church, your friends, family and neighbors- we needn’t be emotionally distanced from one another – let’s make use of the wonderful tools of phone, e-mail, Facetime and Zoom. If you need help with technology, let us know! It’s a great time to learn something new.

Many of us will feel isolated, bored, stir crazy. But here is the upside: We’ve been given the gift of time during Lent. Time to listen to the birds, enjoy the blossoms, feel the sun and breeze on our faces, sleep in, meditate and pray, sing and listen to sighs of the earth awakening to Spring… and connect with others more often and more deeply.

If you feel anxious, here is a short guided meditation from our Christian tradition. I often use this as a way to start the day, or to calm myself down if my heart is beating too fast.

The Welcoming Prayer
Click here to view

And below is a touching poem written by Father Hendrick of Ireland. Maybe just what we need this week.  

All God’s blessings be upon you. You are in my heart. We are not alone. The Love of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit surrounds us and moves among us.

Love,
Jan 

Rev. Jan Reynolds
Interim Pastor, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Fr. Richard Hart Hendrick OFM, Ireland