An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 8/29/20

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Somerville Sunset


Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James,

The sun continues its daily run and our hours of light diminish, as we lean towards fall.  This certainty is not cause (at least, not for me) for a darkening of our mood.  Rather, during these days and months of living with a pandemic and witnessing before our very eyes the blatant display of systemic racism, I still find cause to give thanks for our common life and to acknowledge that, in my realm of thought, God is still on his throne, as one of you said to me recently.  That is a positive in my book, giving me cause still to hope that the women and men, both here and abroad, trained in the sciences will continue their search, with the rising and setting of the sun, for a cure to Covid-19 and other life-threatening illnesses.  And as the world of science continues its forward strides, may people of good will be equally as diligent in their efforts to eliminate the illnesses of the heart.

Clergy, wardens, and other lay leaders throughout our diocese received this week a communication from our bishops [which], being guided by CDC research and recommendations, they have postponed for time indefinite the observance of the Sacrament of Confirmation.  They are hopeful to begin carrying out that aspect of our common life, with Spring 2021 as the earliest prediction.  Coming together in larger groups and the actual physical laying on of hands are not advised by CDC guidelines.  We show our love for each other by protecting ourselves and others from transmission of Covid-19.  Admittedly, much preparation and great anticipation are invested in this solemn Sacrament of Celebration.  However, our bishops remind us that it is the Sacrament of Baptism that admits us to the Lord’s Table, the Eucharist.

communion stained glass

It was [with] that communiqué, and having my move to a more manageable residence now largely under control, that I made the brief drive to our beautiful, but lonely, sanctuary.  It was not that the buildings, especially the High Altar, expressed a feeling or any emotion.  Rather, the loneliness came from within me, that you could not be present to share in the memories of community.  As permitted by our Rites, I observed Communion as Viaticum.  As far as has been reported to me, no one was near death or had passed back into eternity, but I communed on behalf of all of you, as we remain separated the one from the other and you were not able to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

As we pray for our own parish, I bid you also pray:

O merciful God, giver of life and health, whose will is made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord: Send Your Blessing upon all who are engaged in healing.  Grant that they may be compassionate in their care and fearless in their efforts to promote the health and well-being of the people of this and other lands, and be strengthened by Your grace, for the sake of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  AMEN

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers.  We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity.  Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever.  AMEN

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 the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you and those whom you love, this day and for evermore.  AMEN

Your fellow traveler in The Way,