The recent time change we underwent here in the US has made me particularly conscious of how the sun’s rising and falling impacts my sense of time. As the days feel so much shorter, with dark falling earlier, the sense of the earth in this hemisphere settling down for a “long winter’s nap” is tangible. Here in Minnesota we’ve already had our first snow, and most of the leaves have fallen. It’s a time for warm bread, thick soups, and finding ways to be together indoors.
I like to think about the ways in which being dormant — resting, slumbering — creates room for new growth in the spring. It is very tempting to rush from one thing to the next, and to worry about one crisis on top of another. And yet those of us who are not in life or death situations can find time — the Spirit has given us this time — to live into prayer, to find ways for the Spirit to flow through us.
I think of the many vowed religious I have known over the years who have turned to deep prayer and found resources for hope even in the midst of crisis. If you haven’t read Barbara Holmes’ lovely small book “Crisis Contemplation,” I commend it to you. I know how urgent the world’s needs are right now, and yet I also know how dangerous it can be for people who are not close to the conflicts to think we know what to do.
I am hearing from people who are longing for respite and hope in the midst of the global challenges we face. I think finding ways to share personal stories with each other, while it might seem indulgent, is actually a powerful way to connect and remember how interdependent we are.
Just like the trees which are dropping their leaves and settling into dormancy for the winter, we can share our stories with each other, remembering that sharing grief and lament — and joy and hope — generates resilience.
This month I’m sticking close to home, with a weekend workshop that is drawing people from both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Lutheran synods. I am also going to do a short “teaser” session with the Justice Seekers group from Carondelet Village.
Here are a few resources I have found powerful (and please, if you have some you want me to share, send them along!):
an excerpt from an interview Joanna Macy did years ago about the climate and lament that feels particularly relevant to me now
a music video from Audrey Assad which offers new lyrics to an old, old hymn: “Your peace will make us one”
another music video on the theme of “oneness” by Birdtalker
and then, because I was asked, the slide deck from the presentation I gave at the EcoFaith Summit last year
and finally, a few photos of the leaves in my neighborhood (breathe in beauty, breathe out peace)
And that’s it for now! I hope you’ll share my project website (which includes a contact form if someone wants to receive these updates by email): earth.storyingfaith.org