As we go deeper into our sixth week of stay-at-home existence, with probably at least six more weeks ahead of us, it becomes more and more difficult to keep anxiety and stress at manageable levels. Even though we are in the season of Easter, it seems like Resurrection hope is elusive from day to day. I hope that our webcast worship services are helping you a bit, and that you are finding other suggestions for contemplation, spiritual nourishment, connection with loved ones, and time simply for rest.
I have a couple of resources that nurture my spirit when I feel overwhelmed. One resource is the 787 Collective and its director, Martha Lynn, at Austin Seminary. She has been sending out emails twice a week with all sorts of links to inspirational poems, videos, and essays, and making some suggestions of her own as to how to stay grounded and calm during this time. Many of those I pass on to you.
Another resource is a group of 15 pastor colleagues I have met with for a week in January every year for the past twenty years. We have a group text going right now, and that is a place to ask each other questions, keep in touch, encourage one another, and send nurturing thoughts when we run across them. Last week, two songs were shared in that group, and I want to pass them along to you today.
The first is by a singer named Carrie Newcomer, and is titled, “You can do this hard thing.” I doubt she was thinking of self-isolating for 12 weeks during a global pandemic, but the song still speaks to our current situation. You can listen to that song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRGnftH_g4I
The second is by a singer named Aly Halpert, and it is called “Loosen, Loosen.” It talks about letting go of the stress of trying to carry things that aren’t ours to carry – like the weight of all the grief and sickness and loss of jobs being experienced by people in our community, and indeed all over the world. You can listen to that song here: https://soundcloud.com/aly-halpert/loosen-loosen
Finally, I want to take a moment to thank Scott publicly for all of the hard work, passion, energy, and vision he brought to the Hudson Bend Mission Project over the past three-plus years. It was his idea to start making lunches and taking them to the kids in the Hudson Bend RV parks, and it has been his stamina and passion that has encouraged so many in our congregation and in the partner congregations of I AM LT to get involved in this ever-expanding mission. God has been doing great things through Scott, and he has shared that passion and enthusiasm with the rest of us. Plans for continuing this mission appear elsewhere in this newsletter. Please consider prayerfully how you might support this mission.