St. Thomas Episcopal Church | Medina


Thoughts and Happenings

Sharing Our Stories: Wednesday Edition (7/22)

Posted on

Sharing Our Stories: Thursday Edition (7/22)

This was an email originally sent out to the parish on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

Hi friends:

Here are the latest group of stories we have collected. This is a wonderful way for us to stay connected with one another and to accompany one another on this journey. We would love to have YOUR story. Check out the broad guidelines HERE.  And if you have already submitted a story, please let us have another one!

THe MILLS OF GOD by L'louise de butts

The old saying, “THE MILLS of GOD GRIND SLOWLY AND THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL” refers to of all things---WORMS.  Us humans have been interested in WORMS for many years. Plutarch wrote about them way back when and scientists study them today. My association with WORMS began when I was small.   My Grandfather would take me fishing. We would start in the garden. He would dig and I would find. I took only big worms that would fit on the hook.  I was merciless as I threaded them on the hooks. We would find a nice spot on the banks of the Turkey. That was the name of the river that flowed through my home town on its way to the Mississippi. On a lucky day we could catch Bluegills, Sunfish, Crappies, maybe even a Bass. My Grandmother fried them for dinner. What a treat!  I learned like to fish and going salmon fishing with Bob in the waters of the Northwest became a highlight of living here.

Reflection by DWight Russell

Well, here we all are, still at least partially quarantined (and considering other states’ experiences, probably for the best). My wife Shirley and I are retired and have in recent years spent much of our time enjoying our home and yard. Even for us, though, being unable to connect with others, have dinner out, attend church, etc., has been unsettling. Humans are not made for the new normal. In perilous times, our deepest impulse is to draw close to each other – the very thing we’ve been told not to do in the wake of Covid-19. This liminal space can produce come confusing situations – feelings of floating, uncertainty, anxiety, and of course stress. One result: a Harvard Medical study showed that stress can cause short-term memory loss. So, if you temporarily can’t remember things, you are not alone. However, there certainly is hope. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin puts a moving label on our state-of- mind:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are all, quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law that all progress is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time.”

Additionally, although 91% of regular churchgoers say their congregations have suspended public services during the pandemic, 24% of American adults say their religious faith has strengthened because of Covid-19. Hallelujah!

So, as individuals, what help is there when anxiety, stress and dark periods appear? I submit a reflection and prayers which have comforted me, and which can be recited when you are anxious or need to center yourself.
     1. Recognize when you are changing comfort zones; changes can be negative (the ones we recognize the most) and positive. Both types may cause unrest or anxiety. Knowing this will help you work through the changes. Be aware of the working of the Holy Spirit in these circumstances.
     2. Chant, silently or aloud, from Psalm 146, verse 8:
         “The Lord sets the prisoners free,
           The Lord opens the eyes of the blind,
           The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.”
      3. Chant, silently or aloud, The Jesus Prayer”. It is easy, short,
          and  has a beautiful rhythm, lending itself to repetition and
          internalization. The wording is:
           “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy.”
          In place of “have mercy” you can also say “…thank you”,
          “…I love you”, “…heal me”, etc.

It is helpful to remember that there have been situations similar to the current one, such as the Flu of 1918 (most people wore masks), and that this pandemic will not last forever. As one pastor implored his congregation last month: “Let us not let this virus infect our souls”.
Blessings and love to all,
Dwight Russell