Post date: Aug 28, 2020 4:32:24 PM

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Grace and peace to you!

I arise today

In the strength of the mighty Creator

In the strength of the rising Savior

In the strength of the life-giving Spirit 

In the strength of the mighty Three

Whose love is One.

I arise today

In the strength of the angels and archangels

In the strength of the prophets and apostles

In the strength of the martyrs and saints

I arise today

In the strength of heaven and earth

In the strength of sun and moon

In the strength of fire and wind

I arise today

In the strength of Christ’s birth and baptism

In the strength of Christ’s death and rising

In the strength of Christ’s judgment to come.

Earlier this week a friend and colleague posted on her FaceBook page the above blessing called “Rising/Morning” from the book Celtic Blessings - Prayers for Everyday Life (I have since purchased the book — of course!).  Something within my soul resounded deeply to the blessing. Perhaps it’s because as my friend said, “The earth is part of the spiritual resources of strength and celebration.” Since then I have made it a practice to go outside in the morning, plant my bare feet in the grass, face toward the East and the rising sun, and pray this blessing. In these times, I have found it so very grounding and also celebratory, and it sets the tone for my day . . . I arise! It occurred to me during my prayers that somehow in the day to day monotony of living in a pandemic and my to-do list, I had forgotten my morning discipline of awakening prayer. Returning to this practice has rejuvenated me in ways that have been surprising to me. Beloved one, do you have a morning ritual of awakening to God? If so, what is it? What about it nourishes you? How does it sustain you in times of joy and in times of grief? I would enjoy sitting in the Meditation Garden and hearing all about this part of your spiritual journey.

I am looking forward to being back with you this Sunday when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM. I am preaching the last part in our August series Just Amos and my sermon title is The Lord Will Restore, a narrative sermon about an imaginary woman called Lydia who lived in Bethel during the time of Amos’s prophecy (Amos 9.11-15). Also, I’m excited to share a song Ms. Judy found on YouTube for our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection called “O Day of Peace.” Please email me at sheffield.tricia@gmail.com for the Zoom link.

At 6 PM, weather permitting, we have the opportunity to worship together in person in the Meditation Garden for our Vespers service. We will pray, read Scripture, and Mike Steib will be singing “Abide with Me.” What a wonderful way to end our Sabbath by being in God’s garden of peace. We will observe social distancing, so please bring a chair and wear a mask.

Arise dear one! Arise today in the strength of all that is holy, true, and beautiful. See you this Sunday on Zoom!

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

Pastor Trish