Stay-Go-Be-Do #11

Post 43/2020 Saturday 26 December . . . It’s Boxing Day today. For us the day includes putting gift boxes in storage for use another time. Our gifts to each other included mostly warm clothing. I look forward to testing our new winter apparel on upcoming walks. We’ll keep an eye on the weather to avoid ice and the bitterest of cold. Yet out we shall venture, even if reluctantly at times.

“The true meaning of Boxing Day is more important than ever this year,” is the title of an Opinion piece by columnist Wendy Squires in The Sydney Morning Herald (Dec. 26). In her last sentence, Squires writes: “Let’s make Boxing Day a time to not only take stock of our privilege, but share it.” She is referring to the original celebration of the holiday as one of giving gifts to the poor, not of the current practice as a shopping holiday.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we joined the Midnight Mass service at St Anta and All Saints church in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK. We were grateful to be part of the online congregation to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, wonderful Saviour, Prince of Peace; including virtually taking part in the Eucharist.

Cassel Mennonite Church shares the light

Able to hold only a few in-person worship services, Cassel Mennonite Church extended its sanctuary in a light display around the church building.

Some of my relatives are part of the Cassel Mennonite Church, rural Tavistock, Ontario, Canada. The church made the hard decision to only hold an online midnight service on Christmas Eve. Creatively, during this season when Covid-19 prevented most in-person worship services, the congregation placed lights around the church building and invited people to drive by or stop at will.

DeFries Gardens

DeFries Gardens provides a quiet oasis to walk through the year, linger in the present, welcome the overflowing new.

A short path of the 13-acre DeFries Gardens runs along the Elkhart River.
Entrance to the one-acre Calendar Garden, part of DeFries Gardens, near New Paris, Indiana.

DeFries Gardens is part of Elkhart County Park’s River Preserve County Park, home to seasonal wildflowers, perennials, and a year-round calendar garden. On December 23, we stopped by during a walk of other nearby areas of River Preserve County Park and Waterford Wetlands.

Everyone is invited to imagine living in a tree house, in this case a castle-like home fashioned out of a tree stump.
Approaching the Winter Building.
There’s not too much imagination needed to picture oneself chatting with others around a log fire in the Winter Building.
Oh my, it’s way, way too soon for this bush to come into bloom, but this is what we saw on December 23.
It will arrive in due time. Meanwhile, we make the most of winter, not?

Waterford Wetlands

The beavers are active in the Waterford Wetlands.
We heard and saw a number of fish jump as we passed by this pond. Notice the concentric circles.

River Preserve’s Baintertown Dam area

Parking area, across the road from the Baintertown Hydro canal trail that leads to the historic hydroelectric power plant.
This path leads to the confluence of the canal (right) with the Elkhart River.
Trees hug the bank of the Elkhart River.
The Elkhart River spills over Baintertown Dam, flowing through Goshen and on to Elkhart where it joins the St Joseph River.

Leaning into now

I’m grateful for all the people dedicated to furthering spiritual, mental, physical, social, educational, civic, environmental and political health in these trying days. More on the religion front:

An Opinion piece in The New York Times today caught my attention: “Why You Can’t Meet God Over Zoom,” by Esau McCaulley. He writes: “The very inadequacy of church services, Zoom and otherwise, is a reminder we do not come into churches to encounter a life lesson on how to raise our children or to learn to be good Americans, whatever that means. Our aim is much more audacious. We are attempting to encounter God and, in so doing, find ourselves, possibly for the first time.”

Earlier in the piece, McCaulley, assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, writes of going to church in the first place: “We stay because attendance is not about what the church gives us; it is our way of offering something to God. It is a small rebellion, a way of saying that there is more to life than simply the acquisition of more. It is an attempt to become the kind of people who live lives of charity and service.”

Past, present, future. Live it well, now. Deep peace enfold you.

-John

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