Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip. Psalm 66:8-9

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you working out the kinks of the restrictions with which we’ve been living these last few weeks. Physical distancing is a challenge! It’s a loss not to have the gift of the usual interactions with friends and with families, especially when they’re a little more distant from us. Sandy and I had planned on trips to see children and grandchildren – a loss much like many of you have experienced, I’m sure.

Perhaps like you, I’ve enjoyed some gifts of this peculiar time in which we live. The possibility for walking up and around the hills and woods of my neighborhood has been a gift. Walks have given me time to meditate, to think and pray, and to listen to the forest-top dwellers – the warblers making their way north from their winter respite in the southern regions, the screech and knock of the pileated woodpeckers gathering food. I see the swelling buds on maples, and beech; and lower in the valleys, the magnolia beginning already to open.

All the sights and sounds remind me to “bless our God, who has kept us among the living, who has not let our feet slip.” They bring to mind my need for vitamin N, the gift of nature-walks restoring my soul. And, I give thanks. So it is I hope to keep my composure in the midst of the stress of pandemic. The gift of walking in nature gives me time to remember others still sacrificing to make life easier for me, for you; or living with tangible threat to their well-being due to losses, whether they’re economic, or physical, or social.

I pray that you may continue in all that keeps you centered and living in the presence of the One who holds us safe. May you still find opportunities to take those centering breaths that help to remind us that we are Beloved of God. Let the Holy One, who has set our feet on the rock of faith, calm our fears, and remind us to look for the Holy that sustains us and creation in all things. And may the Holy One who is always present with us, grant us peace, calm our anxiety, remind us of the love we are called to share and lead us through these troubling times.

In Christ’s peace,