For Such a Time as This . . .

posted Jul 24, 2020, 8:47 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you!

Little did I know when Christopher Bonin approached me three years ago about creating a Meditation Garden on our property for his Eagle Scout project how precious this garden would become to us. Since its dedication on July 9, 2017, we’ve had services of remembrance for 9/11; an Easter Sunrise Service; worship for healing and prayer; Vacation Bible School lessons; and small group gatherings. It is a unique place — quiet, serene, the melody of birds filling the air, with an enveloping, thick peace. One would think that the sounds of the trains and the cars on Kings Highway would disturb the tranquility; but oddly, it’s as if there is a Divine shield guarding the space that keeps such noisy disturbances away.

During the pandemic the garden has become even more special. As our buildings are closed, the Caregivers Group has met together in the garden, and several members of the congregation have used it as a space to gather, talk, and be with one another. But what has delighted my soul even more — I call it a silver lining amid the COVID-19 storm — is our surrounding community has found our garden of peace in the forest. Since many people have been staying home, or working from home, there has been an increased amount of walkers in the neighborhood, and they are exploring new places. Quite often, I’ve looked out at the garden and have seen a person or two sitting on the benches. It has been my joy to welcome them and linger for a little chat, listen to their stories, and encourage them to come back anytime. One neighbor brings his small child up here rather frequently, and he told me the other day that the garden has been his lifeline during the pandemic. What is even more encouraging is now we have a small Alcoholics Anonymous group who comes to the garden to support each other in their journey of sobriety. The Meditation Garden has grown and lived into for what it was always intended — a place of ministry and God’s peace.

And our garden will continue the ministry of God’s peace when we will have Vespers on August 9 and August 30 from 6 - 6:30 PM. We may not be able to gather in our sanctuary but we can certainly come together (safely and socially distanced) for a time of prayer and Scripture in God’s Church. 

Come this Sunday when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM. Our music was recorded in the Sanctuary featuring Judith Daugherty playing on piano "You Are the Seed" for our Anthem, and “Seek Ye First” on organ for our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection. I am preaching from Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52 and my sermon title is The Kingdom of Heaven is Like . .

For such a time as this . . . Although this quote from The Book of Esther refers to Esther’s role in liberating her people, I can’t help but think it’s a fitting description of our Meditation Garden’s ministry for our community. I invite you to come to the garden to sit, be still, pray, and listen for God. Trust me, beloved one, you will surely find the presence of the Holy there in the garden of peace. 

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish