Featured image: Here’s where geraniums will bloom.
Cogitation 6.132 Saturday 10 February 2018 The buzz on Friday was mostly about the weather. On Saturday snowplows were buzzing all about town.
This morning we attended a memorial service for Brent Eash (1959-2018) at church. It was such a fitting time of worship and fellowship for a farmer, pastor, elder, musician, friend, and family man. His obituary noted, “Brent was a man of tremendous moral integrity and compassion. He has taught those who knew him much about forgiveness, the importance of relationship, and following through on commitment through hard work. He was a quiet and comforting presence in a catastrophe, a fountain of wit, and loved his grandchildren, as well as raisins in anything sweet or savory.”
The buzz this week could have been about the stock market, government distractions, sexual violence, climate change, crisis of trust in many institutions, taxes, plight of the homeless –all tainted with misused power, deceit, self-serving, sexism, post-truth–but the current topic this week and weekend, in the world I inhabit, is all about snow. Also about the flu, which we have been fortunate to avoid.
Snow and cold, school and business cancelations, warnings, advisories, cautions to stay at home–and, presumably, watch the Winter Olympics, build up some social capital in one’s networks of relationships through at-home and online communications. Perfect. Let it snow.
Thankfully, we were able to stay in on Friday, except for a couple rounds of clearing the walk and driveway.
In my roundup of papers I came across this quote from T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding: “We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”
There are layers of meaning in the patterns and connections that bind us together through the four seasons and seasons of our lives. We have the grand privilege to find our place in time both on our feet and on our knees. On our knees gives us a humbler vantage point from which to make sense of the distressed, angry, bewildered world. While some would stand and cheer for evils as though they were God’s will, we can believe, pray and act for God’s kingdom now and coming.
Passing the peace
Many churches have adopted the practice of passing the peace. We started the practice at Prairie Street Mennonite Church during the pastoral leadership of Andrew Kreider. It continues to be a welcome part of each worship service. The leader says, “The peace of Christ be with you,” to which the congregation responds, “And also with you,” and then all proceed to greet those around them or elsewhere in the assembly.
At St Anta and All Saints church in Carbis Bay, Cornwall UK (where we attend when “home from home”) passing the peace among congregants started in the 1990s. The late Ivan Chapman in the church magazine, New Contact (May 2015) wrote about how he and his wife Monica introduced the practice.
Ivan: “If you remember, it was in the eighties that this strange practice of greeting and speaking to fellow worshippers began to infiltrate into the Church of England. It was a source of apprehension, anxiety and sometimes embarrassment to most people–until we got used to this strange, modern custom and realized we quite like it.
“As it transpired, we had outpaced the vogue on its way to Cornwall, so that when, at St Anta, we came to the Peace . . . nothing happened! We were totally unprepared for this turn of events, so moved forward, as usual, to greet the people in front. I shall never forget the look of astonishment on the face of the not-unfriendly man in the pew in front as his hand was grasped and he found himself being wished, ‘Peace with you’.”
It took some time for the tide to turn in the direction of everyone at St Anta being in favor of passing the peace. Ivan continued,
“Monica and I were much encouraged after one of these services, when we were followed up the hill by our elderly Churchwarden. Miss Richards, panting hard, caught us up at the pedestrian crossing. ‘You mustn’t take any notice of us, we’re a lot of fuddy-duddies. You are quite right to pass The Peace and you must go on doing it’. So that was what we did, and the current consensus would seem to be that that’s what we like to do.”
We are glad for the practice at Prairie Street and at St Anta, glad for the persistence of people like Ivan and Monica (we look forward to passing the peace with Monica soon), glad for the contagion of truth that flows from hearts given to pursuing the peace and well-being of all creation.
February 2017 photos from Cornwall