Message from Rev. Rebecca

Beloved Ones, 

“How’s everyone doing tonight? What kinds of things are you doing to keep your minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits lifted?” – Rev Ray McKechnie  

Rev Ray, or as some of my friends called him, handsome Ray, died suddenly yesterday morning. His last post on social media and the place where people are convening in comments to remember him was as above. “How’s everyone doing tonight? What kinds of things are you doing to keep your minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits lifted?” 

Beloved Ones, we are walking a difficult path. We are walking it, in some ways alone. And in the important ways, together. I am so grateful for every face I’ve seen online or voice I’ve heard through the phone from our community. This last week, I had virtual coffee with Jacqueline, Jen, and Katy. What a gift in a desert time. 

And it is a desert time. But it is not a deserted time. 

You are not alone. You are beloved. You are not alone. You are beloved. You are not alone. You are beloved. 

And so, in Handsome Rev Ray’s memory, I ask you all: “How’s everyone doing? What are you doing to keep your minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits lifted?” 

It is not a rhetorical question.  

Each week in this isolation, I will ask you to reply to this email with some thoughts or an image or a video or poem or verse or prayer around a theme. This week’s theme is: “Lifted.” 

When you reply, let me know if it is okay or not okay to share your response to the word “Lifted” on our community blog. My hope is that our community blog becomes a main hall for us in this time. Next week, we’ll link to it, and my hope is that it will be full of whatever “lifted” means to you this week. 

Will you pray with me from a distance? 

Creator, 
From isolation, we cling to what we know of you. You are love. You love us. You love all. You are close. You are close to us. You are close to all.

We are beloved and we are not alone.

Keep us ever mindful of this for ourselves, for our church community, and for all of your creation – human and non-human.Empower us to creatively live under your wing, mimicking you as people of love and nearness. Show us how to love from a social distance. Teach us how to be near from 10 feet away.Amen. I leave you with a poem that has “lifted” me in this journey.

Beloved Is Where We Begin by Jan Richardson

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.

 —Jan Richardson

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