Andrew's Net

Catching your attention and connecting the world

a space for prayers, stories, poems, and offerings that forge community.  Submissions welcome.

gallery/andrews net

 

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

– Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM March 13th 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1, 2020

 

Sermon prep led me to  a sermon by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on "The American Dream" which, despite his consistent use of "man" and "men" to include everybody, is well worth reading.

 

June 29, 2020

 

Always trying something new, here, I hope, are links to Zoom recordings of church on June 21 and June 28 (when Bishop Shin visited us virtually and preached).  They will be available until July 7.

 

 

June 21. What's so scary about being merciful?

Access Password: Godisgr8!

 

June 28:  Prophetic word and deed

Access Password: Godisgr8!

 

 

 

 

June 25, 2020

 

New Paltz Police Chief Robert Lucchesi is reaching out to local clergy members to talk about ways to address systemic racism and police reform.  We had a great conversation today which gives me hope.  Some highlights:

 

We're all in this together--since educational, religious, legislative, medical, and economic practices have created and sustained a system of racial oppression, all aspects of U.S. society have several lifetimes of work to do to acknowledge histories of exclusion and denial, change practices and dismantle the system.  We have to work on these simultaneously, because problems in any arena spill over into others. No one person has to tackle all of them, but each of us can start in our own area. How can we support each other along the way?

   

We need public conversations, with various stakeholders,  about the appropriate role of police and religious institutions in nurturing safe, respectful, inclusive community, yet civil conversations across differing and often opposing political, ethnic, gender and other perspectives are hard. What resources can congregations and civic organizations offer to create safe places to express differences, acknowledge wrongs, and find steps towards greater justice?  

 

No one, individual or institution, is a saint.  Police and churches have supported enslavement and racism and all sorts of other forms of oppression; they have also supported liberation and anti-racist actions.  Every person has said and done things we regret later--can we leave space for learning, repentance, change while still holding each other accountable for wrongs?

 

The perfect, e.g. my group's vision of how to fix injustice now for forever, is often the enemy of the good, a broader, slower, more frustrating process of ongoing listening to many different stakeholders, compromise, to walk a path of  trial and error towards greater justice.  Can we celebrate baby steps towards liberation even as we acknowledge that there is more to be done?

 

June 22, 2020

Yesterday around 5 I went to the church garden at the Gardens of Nutrition to weed. I stayed for an hour, plots didn't look that different, but I have a much deeper appreciation for for farmworkers.

I came when I wanted and could choose when to go home. I had to figure out what were weeds and what were plants we wanted (there's an app for that!). It was hard to get the roots out, and hard to pull out some weeds without pulling out the potato vine even once I knew what I was looking for. I am not entirely sure what happens to food grown in the garden, but I suspect I'll be able to eat some of it. I don't depend on backbreaking labor to feed my family.

I prayed for children who have learned how to weed and pick from young, for people enduring much greater heat much longer, for people doing a more thorough job row after row of crops, for people working in fields with pesticides, for groups like Rural and Migrant Ministry who worked for 80 years to secure basic rights for farmworkers in New York State.

Thank you, farmworkers!

 

June 11, 2020

Pastor Jennifer Berry of New Paltz United Methodist Church suggested local clergy do something the church does well--lead liturgy of grief and hope.  Every Friday at noon the Public Access TV channel (thank you Don Kerr and Bob Fagan) records a brief prayer service.  Here's what I said today (roughly).

 

Here we are again, offering a public liturgy of grief and hope.

When Pastor Jenn first conceived this service it was cold and gray,

Streets were empty.

Deaths from COVID were rising daily,

Many of our friends and neighbors were sick and in need of help.

And the town rallied. 

Groceries were delivered.

Masks were made.

Contactless transfers of goods and services were developed.

There was grief, and isolation, and loss, and innovation, and commitment, and creativity to meet the challenge.

 

And now its sunny, and the curve has been flattened in our town and state and nation.

The suffering, fear, isolation and losses of COVID have moved on to other parts of our nation and our world, so our prayers continue.

Yet the shadow of death remains.

Another virus claims our attention, a virus of excessive force against black men and many people of color, of a disproportionate number of deaths and cases of COVID in neighborhoods dense with people and short of medical resources, protective equipment, opportunities to stay home and out of danger.  Essential workers put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to be of use and to support those families economically.

 

The losses inflicted by racism have shaped our nation since its founding—loss of freedom, of economic opportunity, of land and life and limb.  They are remembered on Huguenot Street and in the African Burying Ground in New Paltz.

Let us take a moment to acknowledge the losses.

 

And streets are crowded with people who have had enough.

Main Street was filled with people of all ethnicities and ages and signs, mourning the death of George Floyd, of Ahmaud Arbery, of Breonna Taylor, of so many more.

The New Paltz police were helpful.

People across the nation are risking their physical health in order to heal their own souls, to save their own lives, to transform the soul of the nation.

The fault lines exposed by both of these viruses provide opportunities and choices.  Where do we go from here?  Back to denial and unacknowledged oppression, unequal distribution of the resources needed to face another wave of COVID, of a rush to boost the economy at the expense of the most vulnerable?

 or forward to safe distancing practices, phased in gatherings, to police reform and undoing racism step by step? 

Let us take a moment to face the choices present now.

 

There is work to do, there is grief and rage, and there is hope.  James Weldon Johnson expressed the longing for a brighter, more inclusive, more life giving future, acknowledging the struggle but also the possibility of justice and healing and hope in his poem Lift Every Voice and Sing.  Here's the third stanza.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might, Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

 

June 9, 2020

I have been reading Ibram Kendi's book How to be an Antiracist." It will be part of a diocesan read in July. Kendi describes his own transformation from "not racist" to "anti racist"--to say someone or something is "not racist" is to act as if racism is only about personal attitudes, without roots in social, economic, and political institutions. Almost every sentence leads me to prayer, because, as a Christian, only God can help us untangle the webs of oppression that we have woven, consciously and unconsciously.

 

I also often go to The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie's website, Edge of Enclosure

, for sermon prep. She is reflecting this week on the phrase from Sunday's gospel, "Jesus had compassion on the crowds." Compassion effects both internal and external change, opening our hearts to the world and in turn being more able to act compassionately. Here are some reflections that seem especially appropriate now:

 

We live in a world where millions of our fellow men live in inhuman conditions, practically in slavery. If we are not deaf we hear the cries of the oppressed. Their cries are the voice of God.

We who live in rich countries where there are always pockets of underdevelopment and wretchedness, hear if we want to hear, the unvoiced demands of those who have no voice and no hope. The pleas of those who have no voice and no hope are the voice of God.

Anyone who has become aware of the injustices caused by the unfair division of wealth, must, if he has a heart, listen to the silent or violent protests of the poor. The protests of the poor are the voice of God.

-Dom Helder Camara 1909-1999
The Desert is Fertile

 

June 2, 2020

My sermon Sunday referenced some books about white privilege and dismantling racism.  Somebody asked me to post some resources on line--foolish, foolish request because I never know when to stop! But, here are a few books and online presentations, and links to longer bibliographies.  

Here are three books I have found really helpful as a white woman trying to understand what “white privilege” means:

A short, old, article by Peggy McIntosh, “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack,” and an 18 minute TEDx talk.

Debby Irving, Waking Up White (Elephant Room Press, 2014).  Here’s a 15 minute TED talk introduction 

Robin Diangelo White Fragility (Beacon Press, 2018)

Here’s a 9 minute introduction:

And a 90 minute discussion by the author.

Lori Wynters is starting a discussion group of a book I haven’t read yet by Layla Saad, Me and White Supremacy (Sourcebooks, 2020)— 

To understand how we got here, there are books upon books. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I send you to the Anti Racism Committee of the Diocese of New York’s resource page, which will give you a brief brochure and a longer list of mostly non-fiction analyses.  

Here’s a link to a list of books, fiction and non-fiction that Ibram X. Kendi recommends to understand the history of race in the U.S. :  

There will be a diocesan read of Kendi’s book How to be an anti racist (Random House/One World, 2019) with virtual discussion groups, in the fall—since the hardcover is out of print copies are expensive online right now, but ebook prices are cheaper.  A paperback edition should be coming out soon.

 

April 22, 2020

50 years of Earth Day celebrations--we have made some progress!  COVID restrictions are also cleaning our environment, let's pray that some of the useful habits of earth care continue.

Here's Evening Prayer from April 22, an interweaving of Stations of the Resurrection and prayers for the earth.

Our patron was a fisherman, brother to simon peter.  The tradition shares that jesus was walking along the sea of galilee, and he called andrew and peter to become "Fishers of people."  the nets andrew used in the context of making his living serve as a serendipitous metaphor in the inter'net' age of the 21st century.