An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 7/25/2020

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8 Pentecost: Sticks and Stones

Dear Good People and Friends of St. James,

As I listened this morning to the weather forecast for today, Saturday, and for tomorrow, Sunday, 26 July, it occurred to me that exactly a year ago, our forecasters had suggested that we shelter in place. We shelter this year again in place. The reason in 2019 was, of course, of a different nature. It is likely that most of us will have forgotten that the then predicted heat index in our area threatened the health of those with “re-existing conditions” and even of those who were unaware of potential health problems. I recall that on that Sunday I recorded in the required “red book” which all Episcopal clergy holding a cure/parish must keep: HEAT WAVE! This year I make no new entry in our parochial book, because I recorded already in March the last in-person liturgy. I await anxiously the opportunity to begin recording anew our parochial activities. Until that time is upon us, we shall have “memories of the heart.”

Those of us who did brave on the Sunday, a year ago, the external temperature to assemble for the liturgy, gathered in St. Francis Hall. There, thanks to window AC units, we experienced the truth of “where two or three are gathered together in my name.” Our number was greater than three, of a double digit, but still small. A simple rectangular folding table and folding chairs had to suffice. With a lowered temperature, we sang without benefit of our beautiful historic organ. And, because we were in a smaller place and not supported—dare I say ‘not out sung by the organ—or by a music instrument of any kind, we rediscovered our voices. Our sermon last year was one of dialogue.

Eldridge's_Map_of_Martha's_VineyardThrough it all, I had pleasant flashbacks of the summers [that] I had spent with extended family—in-laws, wives, husbands, aunts, children of various ages—in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. The high point of our month-long sojourn was attendance at the annual Methodist Camp Ground “Tent Meeting” in Vineyard Haven, where for one week we sang with gusto our Anglican and Quaker hearts out. There we had a communion of a different sort. And today, as I reflect on those years past, on our own experience from last year, I come today with an image of what “the kingdom of heaven is like…” Though apart, we are together, in thought, in remembrance, in prayer. We give praise and thanksgiving to our Creator God for the opportunity to begin a new year’s trek to next year’s heatwave.

Pray for those who care for those who cannot care for themselves. Pray for our own nation and for all the nations of the earth. Pray for peace.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you and those whom you love this day and for evermore.

Your fellow traveler in The Way