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Dear Friends, 

It’s all about relationships! 

This weekend as we celebrate Earth Day, we remember Pope Francis wondering, “What is happening to our common home?”  One of the themes of

Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si about is “it’s all about relationships!”  Hearkening back to his namesake Francis of Assisi, who talked about Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Pope Francis sees (and invites us to see) the earth as our home.   Francis talks about the Gospel of Creation and says that we are meant “to build harmony, a universal communion.”  Thich Nhat Hahn talks about Inter-being, how we are all related to each other.  The earth is not separate from us--we are the earth: whatever diminishes the earth, diminishes us; whatever augments the earth, augments us.

Francis builds his encyclical to its peak moment when he states that we are called to a new lifestyle. Many people value “accumulating all I can.”  You might even remember the saying that at the end of life “whoever has the most toys wins.”  Francis leads us, rather, to think, how can I simplify my life?  How can I share what I have?  He counsels us not to worry that whatever we do for the earth won’t be enough or that we are too little, too late.  He states that what we do makes a difference—and it calls forth goodness from others.  He also suggest three simple things that we can do: 1) give thanks to God before and after meals (this reminds us of the earth and others producing the food we eat and connects us to the earth and to each other;) 2) practice small acts of kindness (this, too, connects us to each other: yesterday I hoisted a bag of birdseed on my shoulder and a man nearby gave me his cart to lighten my load [and give joy to my heart;])  3) celebrate Eucharist on the day of rest (he suggests that the quiet can bring about in us a greater concern for our earth and for the poor and for all others.) 

How are you moved to take care of the earth?

Mary Oliver offers us inspiration:

 

ONE OR TWO THINGS
             by Mary Oliver

Don't bother me.

I've just

been born.

The butterfly's loping flight

carries it through the country of the leaves

delicately, and well enough to get it

where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping

here and there to fuzzle the damp throats

of flowers and the black mud; up

and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes

for long delicious moments it is perfectly

lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk

of some ordinary flower.

The god of dirt came up to me many times and said

so many wise and delectable things, I lay

on the grass listening

to his dog voice,

crow voice,

frog voice; now,

he said, and now,

and never once mentioned forever,

which has nevertheless always been,

like a sharp iron hoof,

at the center of my mind.

     

One or two things are all you need

to travel over the blue pond, over the deep

roughage of the trees and through the stiff

flowers of lightning-- some deep

memory of pleasure, some cutting

knowledge of pain.

       

But to lift the hoof!

For that you need an idea.

     

For years and years I struggled

just to love my life.  And then

the butterfly

rose, weightless, in the wind.

"Don't love your life

too much," it said,

and vanished into the world.

Carolyn McDade has Songs for Building Community, one of which we used to build community at our Eucharist yesterday:

1.  Come, sing a song with me (3x)                                                                                                  That I might know your mind.

 

Refrain: And I’ll bring you hope                                                                                                 When hope is hard to find.                                                                                                              And I’ll bring a song of love                                                                                                                and a rose in the winter time.

 

2.   Come, dream a dream with me (3x)                                                                                             That I might know your mind. (to refrain)

 

3.   Come walk in the rain with me (3x)                                                                                           That I might know your mind. (to refrain)

 

4.   Come share a rose with me (3x)                                                                                                      That I might know your mind. (to refrain)

We pray for you abundant blessings and a Glorious Easter Season.  You are our companions on the journey: together we experience God in our midst again today breaking the bread of presence and love to each other and to those in need near and far .                                                                      

At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound.  We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us.

Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world.  We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey.  We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life. 

As we journey through these days of Easter, we pray that  the joy of this season might Rise UP within you in new and unexpected ways….

Ron & Jean