May 9, 2021 was the Mother’s Day observance at Central. Rev. Carol Devine was the guest preacher and Dave and I tuned in virtually from our family room as we’d done since Covid shuttered the doors of Central. Our dog Toby assumed his position on the back of the love seat and promptly went to sleep. Dave and I took our seats, coffee in hand, as had become our custom. After the opening remarks, hymn singing and scripture reading Raleigh introduced a video presentation. His idea for the presentation was realized in collaboration with Kim Kincaid, Aaron Austin and Sally Horowitz. Raleigh explained that in the video he and Kim would sing the vocals to “Cool of the Day” accompanied by a montage of Sally’s nature photography. Aaron was tasked with syncing the music to the pictures. I wasn’t familiar with the song but knowing how talented all these folks are I knew we were in for a treat. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard and saw.
The pure and haunting vocals and the mesmerizing photography brought the lyrics to life. I wept as I watched. My emotions were all over the place. Feelings for joy, peace, and tranquility were followed by feelings of sorrow, sadness, and grief. This song reminds us that God only asks that we be good stewards and caretakers of His garden. But, instead, we’re responsible for a global climate crisis. All the beauty captured in those pictures could be gone in a few years. The rivers, lakes, and waterfalls could dry up. The fields and meadows could burn up. The mountains could crumble.
In her sermon, Rev. Devine noted that on Mother’s Day we shouldn’t just celebrate our earthly mothers but Mother Earth herself. God formed us from the dirt and breathed life into us. She reminded us of the renewing energy found from time spent outside and the importance of being good stewards of God’s creation. Her sermon and the video were perfect compliments to one another.
Before the era of Covid, Zoom meetings, and “virtual church” I wonder if this video would have been made. If we were meeting in person with no restrictions like the good-old-days maybe Mother’s Day would have been commemorated with a special anthem by the choir or a reading or some sort. I don’t know why Raleigh decided to put this presentation together because I didn’t ask him but I’m profoundly grateful that he did. I’ve thanked each person individually but each one is too humble to take credit for his or her part and instead points to the others’ contribution.
As for me, I will continue to watch this video and allow myself to feel all the emotions it brings forth. I will allow myself to feel the joy and peace as well as the sorrow and sadness. I will use this as a reminder of my personal responsibility to care for the “garden” and encourage others to do the same. And I will continue to give thanks for the talented people of Central and their gifts which are blessings to us all.
This reflection is part of our church archives project to preserve records of our life together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we still find ourselves in the midst of this exceptional time, we hope these reflections will serve not only as accounts of where we’ve been, but as reminders that we are not alone, and encouragement that we journey forward together. We’d love to hear your reflections too! While the project will continue, we’d like submissions for the first phase by October 15. We will only publish reflections to our blog with the authors' consent. To submit or find out more, contact Pat Ingram (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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