Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, April 18, 2021
Reflecting back on our rather unique winter, I am reminded how our neighbor down the street did a great service for our neighborhood. During the dark of winter he added light — white lights all up and down the great reaching branches of a large maple tree in his front yard — beautiful and encouraging. On the night of the winter solstice we made note of it — walked down to its base and paused — in appreciation. We paused in appreciation of that beautiful light, and for all that the solstice and Christmas symbolize…. the return of the light.
And so, all along through the rising numbers of the pandemic, the January shocks emanating from Washington, D.C., and diminished opportunities to be with friends and family, that tree — that light — was a beautiful, faithful reminder of hope. The way forward towards light.
And now, Friends, I will turn my attention to that hope.
How have I kindled and rekindled hope and light to envision my way forward? Will the joy of rebirth, as spring comes on, open me to more creativity and sharing? More prayerful listening? Is this the way we each empower the light?
Beyond that, how have I helped my family and household to keep hope and serve our neighbors?
And, of course, as our Meeting envisions our way forward, we will want to consider:
- How can we as a Meeting be a beacon of light to our local and wider community?
- What changes will come when we are able to gather in person?
- Can we help the many people grieving losses (of loved ones, jobs, and homes)?
- Are we a community that appreciates and supports creativity? With this in mind, do we want to grow the Cafe Corner that Mey has begun?
- Are we a community that provides material assistance — a play group? a music and poetry night?
- Are we a community that provides a place for listening and sharing — a support group, or perhaps a safe space for reflection and contemplation?
- Do we want to create a productive organic vegetable garden? then share the produce?
- Are we willing to share a place to take a walk in the woods, perhaps with benches to rest, perhaps a place for children to develop a relationship with the land?
Of course, Friends, I speak of the community outside of our Meeting, to provide a service. I hope we will all give some consideration to these and other ideas, because these are just a starting point. If we want to, we can be a beacon of light to our local community.
As a final reminder, friends, a quote from the young inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to BE it.”
Thank you, Friends, for your attention. Blessings be with you as you continue with your day.