Worship for this Sunday is now online!
One of the helpful ways of coping with the times that we live through is finding stories that we can relate to – stories of waiting, stories of resilience, stories that instill more hope in goodness outlasting all destructive forces. These can be inspiring stories like that of the late Rep. John Lewis who overcame so much in order to fight for the dream of beloved community. His grit, his resilience, even after being nearly beat to death reminds us that there are people who have gone before us who have shown us how to get back up and keep going in the face of overwhelming realities.
Another form of story that helps us frame and reimagine our present experience comes from sacred writings. John Lewis himself likely imagined his struggle for civil rights with stories from the Exodus, taking courage from the example of Moses and the people of Israel (as so many African American leaders have before and since). In reimagining himself in resonance with the ancient story, he becomes a part of that walking out in faith that the Red Sea will part, that they’ll make it through the wilderness if they just press on in faith.
In recent months another story has been evoked by the pandemic, the ancient story of the flood that Noah and his family survived through diligent precautions and a vigilance that involved sending out doves to search for dry land, any sign of an end to the uncertainty, the strange predicament of life in the ark.
Mary Luti, whose prayers and poems we’ve been sharing a lot recently, from the collection “Emerge: Blessings & Rituals for Unsheltering” wrote a poem inspired by our experience right now of watching and waiting, enduring and wondering, “how long,” that can be sung as a hymn called, “Hymn for Waiting in Faith: When Noah Sent a Dove to Fly”
When Noah sent a dove to fly
across the ebbing sea
To seek a sign of life’s return,
He waited patiently.
Not knowing if she’d find a thing,
He waited patiently,
And prayed the dove along her way
Toward unknown mystery.
And as she winged her way on prayer
Toward unknown mystery,
Already you had freed the land
And planted olive trees.
Already, as she circled high,
You’d planted olive trees,
Already made the branch she’d take,
Its green and silver leaves;
Already made new earth a jewel
Of green and silver leaves,
While Noah still in patience prayed,
Still scanned the cloud and breeze.
Our patient prayers are like the dove
That scans through clouds and breeze
For signs that in foreseeing love
You’re planting olive trees.
We hope she’ll bring a branch, but more,
We ask for faith to know
That while we’re praying unaware,
The trees you’re planting grow.
May you be well and supported today and may you find time this weekend to rest and be nourished in the beauty of the summer, wherever and however that may be.
And may the blessing of God or all that sustains you,
Keep you safe, grant you peace and fill you with all that you need, just for today. Amen.
Rev. Joel Eaton