Alleluia! Christ is risen!
If you have pictures of this year’s Holy Week and Easter services, we’d love to have them. Send them to Rev. Michelle at email@example.com. In the meantime, here are some we’ve already received.
St. Hildegard’s Viriditas
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Poet Wendel Berry says, “The earth is what we all have in common.” I try in vain to articulate this idea in my sermons sometimes, but it takes a true poet to be so clear and concise and I am way to wordy to be a good poet. Indeed, the earth is what we share, it is the repository of all the elements from which we were molded by God. So, here, on earth, we live. Here we breathe.
As we continue to move through a pandemic that has been so distinctly marked by shared breath, I hope it gives us pause to look at this relationship between humanity and the earth in which we live and breathe together.
I’m writing this on Earth Day – just 5 days after our glorious Easter celebration. Of course, we know that the timing of Easter comes out of the ancient spring holiday, Ostera, and remains so connected to this holiday that it, along with the phases of the moon, dictate the actual date of Easter each year. In case you didn’t know, or had forgotten, the date for Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (Ostera).
Our two most significant Christian feasts, Easter and Christmas, are shaped by the fact of the incarnation – birth and rebirth in this physical space, this flesh and blood and air, these elements in and of the earth, and God’s intimate connection with all of that in the physical presence of Christ. The incarnation matters, no pun intended.
I spied on Facebook today, a post about St. Hildegard of Bingen and her theology of ‘viriditas’ that speaks to this. “Viriditas” (in Latin, literally, “greenness”), for St. Hildegard, refers to the “living power of light” which she equates to that which flows through all of creation, giving these earthly elements more than just life, but spiritual and physical health. She adds that when viriditas is blocked, we become barren and arid, unable to flourish and care for the flourishing of other life.
I think St. Hildegard is saying that the incarnation matters – what we do, the choices we make, the help we offer, the love and justice we stand for… all of this contributes to the presence of viriditas, this greenness that is Christ’s light, alive in us as a generative force. I think that this is the Love Jesus was talking about when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself because this is just like loving God.” (That’s a paraphrase, of course)
And I can recognize this in my own life as I work in the garden Ana and I have created together. Sowing seeds, digging in the earth, caring for seedlings, and witnessing the life cycle. I receive nourishment from this, not just because we have vegetables to eat and flowers to adore and smell, but because it’s a generative process. I give of myself and, inherently, I receive so much more back.
But a backyard garden is just the beginning, really. There is so much more to talk about regarding our relationship with this earth. I hope you’ll join me.
In God’s love and mine,
Announcements for the
Second Sunday of Easter: April 24, 2022
Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information. And thank you to all who have hosted and signed up to host in the coming weeks!
New “club” starting! – St. John’s Walking Club Well, we don’t know the actual name yet, but we’re working on it. Come and walk with us! Talk to Ana Hernández for more information.
Is there someone you know who is in need of prayer? Our Prayer Chain is a group of St. John’s members dedicated to intercessory prayer on behalf of others. The request is kept confidential amongst the members of this small group. Simply email the Prayer Chain Monitor, Cathe Decker, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance: Sunday May 1 at 11:30 am. Join CEHV (Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley) for their annual Holocaust remembrance. Readers will be reciting the words of those who endured the Holocaust as a way of honoring the collective memory of the Jewish people. Christian witness is important, so Rev. Michelle invites you to join her at this event, 3 doors down from St. John’s.
Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: May 3rd: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia, June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached, the May meeting will be on Zoom. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!
A Concert for Ukraine: If you would like to be involved in helping to organize a benefit concert for Ukraine here at St. John’s, please contact Rev. Michelle as soon as possible. Our first organizational meeting will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, May 3.
Community Gun Buy and Gun Safe Giveaway: The Ulster County Sherriff’s office is sponsoring this event to increase gun safety. Sat. April 30 from 10-2 at the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, 467 Broadway in Kingston. For more information contact the Sherriff’s Department at email@example.com or call 845-802-7960.
CEHV Collecting Medical Supplies for Ukraine: The Ukrainian people are in desperate need for humanitarian and medical supplies. Our neighbors, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley, are collecting medical supplies to be shipped directly to Ukraine. They have 2 collection boxes. Please read below and give as generously as you can:
- Collection Box 1: OTC Pain Relievers (Aspirin, Ibuprofin, Advil, etc.) and Benadryl, Everything Packaged and Unopened. Locale and Hours: M-F, 10am – 2pm, box inside Administrator’s office OR Friday before services; give supply bag to the Greeters; OR Saturday 10am-noon, drop-off at the greeters’ table.
- Collection Box2: First-Aid Kits, Hydrocortisone Cream (1%), Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Antibacterial Ointment, Adhesive and Ace Bandages of all Sizes, Safety Pins, Immodium, and Pepto Bismol Pills, Everything Packaged and Unopened. No Pain Relivers or Benadryl. Locale and Hours: Ukranian Medical Supplies box outside CEHV, available 24/7.
St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
May 1: Join Rev. Michelle and attend Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance at our neighbors, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley. Begins at 11:30.
May 14: Calling all Lay Weeders! Outdoor Parish Work Day from 9-12.
May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!
May 22: Pastoral Care Meeting immediately after worship
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org.