My beloved Mt. Tam Church, A techie Luddite—I’ve been a card-carrying member of the club for as long as I can remember. A Luddite is defined as “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working.” And whereas I haven’t been opposed, I’ve found learning about and embracing new technologies a challenge. I’m a people person, I think, not a techie.
Pandemic has forced those tendencies to be left behind. So, I’m diligently learning the capacities of our new sanctuary audio and video recording system to maximize our utilization of this amazing and high-tech system when we return to online only worship on November 1. Pray for Jeff and Liz as they strive to teach me! Pray for me as I attempt to embrace new ways of communicating using video and social media. Leaving Luddite-leaning tendencies is not easy!
One goal: to stop writing a weekly Faith Matters communication and start sharing a short video message. I’ve been told I need to keep it to two minutes or less. Do you know how hard it is for a preacher to be that short? Yet I’m viewing other clergy videos, taking a webinar on the subject and trying to think of what I need to say.
What do you need to hear? What word of grace or joy or inspiration is desired? Tell me, please, because next week is the Faith Matters video premier. St. Paul writes: “If anyone be in Jesus Christ, they are a new creation! Behold, the old has passed away; the new life has begun.” May his words become real for this recovering Luddite!
My beloved Mt. Tam Church,
One of the great joys of living in the Bay Area is the geography of microclimates. Did you know that we live in one of the few places on earth with such distinct but close together small areas of weather? What a gift—hot day in Mill Valley? Head to the coast! Too cold in southern Marin—take a drive to wine country to warm up!
I write this because I’ve been toying with the concept of how we have micro-climates in our own lives—in the midst of uncertainty, fear and doubt, there are small pockets of hope, joy, wonder and love. These are like little microclimates of being to which we can travel to either warm up or cool down! Stay with me and play with this idea. Maybe it doesn’t speak to you. But please read on and perhaps it might!
Here’s an example: as I struggle to keep my own spirits up, to “keep the faith” in staying hopeful and strong, I find a visit to the micro-climate of my wonderful 4-year old granddaughter the place I need to visit to warm my heart, cool down my fears and center myself again. Two hours of play, reading and yes, even Candyland buoys my soul. I can’t stay there forever. Yet I can take a break there from the greater climate of challenge and find myself renewed.
Another microclimate that grounds me is to start my day with poetry. Normally I read 2 newspapers, first thing, as I drink my coffee and start the day. I have found myself more depressed than informed with this practice. So now, before any headlines cross my path, I dive into the new collection of Mary Oliver poems, “Devotions,” and take a few moments to read and meditate on whatever poem lands as I open the book. Her words never fail to center my heart in joy and hope and prepare me for what I will be reading and experiencing all day. From there, my morning prayers focus on thanksgiving and praise as well as concerns and fears. The Spirit can enter into me more easily with an open and softened heart. (And whereas I used to save the comic section for the afternoon, I now make sure I read it right after the main news section!) What and where are your microclimates of joy, hope, wonder and love? How can you travel there, as you need, to cool your fears and warm your soul? And how can the Spirit guide you to these places of comfort and peace? Please let me know with an email, subject line “micro-climates.” As we share, perhaps we can journey together, by God’s grace, and together, grow in and keep the faith!
My beloved Mt. Tam Church,
Today I was able to walk more than one block for the first time in five weeks. Knee replacement surgery has pushed back my exercise and workout routine, making a walk around the block a great achievement. But today, I walked for about a mile and it felt like fifteen, yet the sense of accomplishment that came with this felt like a grand victory! Life almost felt back to normal. Or at least this part of life!
For there is little “normal” right now, is there? That’s one of the primary reasons we worked so long and hard at bringing in person worship outdoors, because I wanted to gather together, which is normal for a church. I still feel the absence of people who aren’t there, and I rejoice for everyone who is there, whether online or outdoors. We will have outdoor worship for the entire month of October and what a month it will be! This Sunday, we celebrate the baptism of Mackenzie Rose Linch. On October 11, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper with social distancing communion, done up in pre-packaged individual set-ups with juice and bread. And hopefully, we will take in new members on October 18 or 25th, after the new members class on October 11, after worship. (Please see the separate article in this Faith Matters.)
On November 1, we will return to online only worship. We will continue to monitor the congregation’s readiness to return to worship together inside the sanctuary, as well as follow County guidelines and the Bishop’s directives about in-person indoor worship. We want to be as prepared and able to be together indoors safely as we are at the outdoor service.I will miss being in person together while being immensely grateful for the technology that allows us to gather in one while in our homes. It’s a beautiful month ahead as we practice our spiritual resilience and connect with one another by faith. Thanks be to God!