I love Russian Religious Philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (b. March 18, 1874 – d. March 24, 1948) – a fellow Pisces, whose birthday I celebrated with Penelope the boxer dog on social media last week and whose death-day I’m honoring this morning by re-reading my favorite passages in some of his books. Nerds unite!
In his masterpiece, The Destiny of Man, Nikolai Berdyeav writes:
“The greatest mystery of life is that satisfaction is felt not by those who take and make demands but by those who give and make sacrifices. In them alone the energy of life does not fail, and this is precisely what is meant by creativeness. Therefore the positive mystery of life is to be found in love, in sacrificial, giving, creative love.”
Many of us, our families, friends, and loved ones, and indeed countless medical workers, caregivers, and researchers are enacting this sacrificial, giving, creative love every day as we respond to the COVID-19 health crisis.
In our shared life of faith at St. John’s we must continue to be “those who give and make sacrifices” in new and creative ways so that God’s presence is made known through the daily practice of love: love of God, love of self, and love of neighbor as our self. In the four ministry areas I care for as Associate Rector, St. John’s has adapted creatively to our new mode of being spiritually connected while remaining physically separate.
In our Baptismal liturgy, we ask God to give us inquiring and discerning hearts, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love God, and the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works (BCP, p. 308). We honor these sacred words when we practice being transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern the will of God (Romans 12:2).
Renew your mind by attending Sunday Faith Forums on St. John’s YouTube Channel. Every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. the Faith Forum video presentation will be posted on St. John’s Facebook Page and each presenter will be available to answer questions posed in the comments of the Facebook post in real time.
Copies of our Lenten Read, John O’Donohue’s Beauty – The Invisible Embrace: Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope are now available in the Little Free Library located outside St. John’s 60 Kent Street entrance. Hello, Katie!
Pick up a copy, remit the suggested $10 donation online or by check, and read this beautiful book! Maybe you’d like to create a Facebook Group to convene online conversations about our Lenten Read? Let me know! Remember to listen to Krista Tippet’s superb OnBeing interview with the late John O’Donohue here.
Families with children, don’t miss Katie Madsen’s awesome online programming here.
As Episcopalians, our faith identity continues to be grounded in Common Prayer. Join us on Facebook for Daily Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m., Compline on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Sunday Worship at 10:00 a.m., and Godly Play on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Pick up copies of The Book of Common Prayer which are also available in the Little Free Library pictured above!
Ecce quam bonum! Book Group, Faithful Families, House Groups, LGBTQ+ Group, Men’s Breakfast, Men’s Group, OWLs, Prayer Shawl Knitters, Women’s Group, and Young Adults, this COVID-19 health crisis is an invitation and opportunity to continue connecting remotely via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, to pick up the phone and call each other, send group text messages, emails, or write postcards to each other. Be creative!
St. John’s is a faith community oriented to caring pastorally for one another. Go to My St. John’s and find the phone number, email or mailing address of someone you’ve been thinking about, and let them know they’re not alone. St. John’s Circle of Care and Clergy are standing by to offer pastoral care and spiritual support over the phone, video conference, or via email, so please reach out to us as needed. I will be available on Zoom this evening, Tuesday, March 24 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. for anyone who would like to join a group conversation about our joys, struggles, and gratitudes.
In closing, pray this prayer with me for spiritual nourishment on the journey.
Oh! And watch this outrageously creative video that gifted me with fits of laughter:
You are made in the Image of The Creator. Be who you are. Be creative.