Letter from Our Minister

Letter from Rev. J. Carr Holland III

March 2020

Dear Friends and Companions of the Chapel,

This is an odd time for most of us. Some of you are in cities where monitoring your movements has become key. Some of you are in less densely populated places. Some, like Maxwell and me, are living in more isolated places. Many of us have been told to essentially shelter in place. None of us is overly happy with this time. We try to accommodate it. Here in North Carolina the spiritual resource of community worship has been suspended. That seems to be true in most places. We are all to socially distance. Some might resist this. You could also take a breath and be creative.

If we are confined, isolated, or overly crowded, or anxious about loved ones or our circumstances, this can wear away our comfort and security. Take time to tend these feelings and needs. Take time to remind yourself that you live within God’s care, and awareness.

One creativity is to find quiet and let it be a friend and a spiritual resource. We will all read or watch the news perhaps. Some of you may be living in confined spaces that are “over-populated”, i.e. everyone is home. Can you negotiate a quiet space or time?

There is a resource we can embrace, a quiet day or time. We can intentionally go quiet. Turn off media. If silence is too much, play some soothing music quietly. Find a place to sit comfortably. Invite your awareness to rise to God whom we know in Christ Jesus. Perhaps loved ones will float within your heart/mind. Lay aside panic if it comes and slowly offer your awareness of them to God. Perhaps remember those who will continue to work in these days. Let their wellbeing occupy your prayer. If some are ill, let their needs and that of their caregivers rest in you and offer that to God. Remember those who are researching our cure, that they may be strengthened and guided. Remember the health care providers and offer them hospitable places within your prayer. Remember those who will decide what might be best for us, that they may grow wise.

Monitor your breath, notice its flow in and out as if it also is prayer, centering, drifting. Go quiet inwardly and be. Perhaps some word will help you simply be. Psalm 46:10 might guide you: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Or choose any word with which you are comfortable to remind you to be present to God. Examples of a sacred word are: Silence, Stillness, Faith, Trust, Holy, Glory, God, Jesus, Abba, Father, Mother, Mary, Amen, Love, Listen, Peace, Mercy. Perhaps you can find five minutes or more of little thought. Perhaps the beauty of being created, loved, just you in God’s awareness can find space to settle in.

If other thoughts want to come in, just gently notice and perhaps say to them, “I will come to you later.” Let the thought float away.

In times of anxiety, let us not forget our faith and the spiritual resources open to us. However distanced we may be, we walk this time in togetherness. The prayers below for opening and closing the day may be of some kindness just now.

In Christ’s love,
The Rev. J. Carr Holland III

In the Morning
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

In the Evening
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

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