Rev. Bob’s Weekly Message, March 25
Dear Grace and St Peter’s,
I hope you are all keeping well and staying calm despite the first identified case of the new coronavirus in Hamden. Please continue to follow recommended public health precautions so our whole community—parish, civic, state, national and worldwide—can get through this situation as healthfully and quickly as possible. And, please continue to let us know how you are doing. If you need help with groceries, chores, etc., we are here to help. If you don’t feel well, please call us or send an email, and contact your healthcare provider.
Thank you all for tuning in to the video of our Sunday Morning Prayer service. And thanks to Hollie and Beth for helping out. We will again be posting a video of this coming Sunday’s service or may opt for a real-time broadcast medium such as live streaming if the G&SP wifi capacity will support it. I will keep you posted on that.
Sue O’Connell has made a wonderful offer to deliver copies of the Book of Common Prayer and hymnals to anyone who may not have them and who would like follow the online services more easily. Please send the office a note or call if you would like Sue to drop either or both of these books off at your home.
On Thursday evening, March 26, we will have the first of our parish “fireside chats” on the internet via Zoom. This will be an informal conversation during which we can share thoughts, hopes, prayers and concerns—maybe a little music, too. We will begin at 7:00 pm and virtually hang out until 8:00 pm. You will receive a note soon that has all the information necessary for joining this gathering.
Sue Stanley, our Junior Warden, reminds us that, although we are not currently together in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings, we are still the Episcopal Church in Hamden. Our ministries, our staff and our building still need our financial support—our pledges and our weekly donations. I’ll let Sue say more about this in this week’s enews. Stay tuned.
In closing, I thought I could do worse than to offer you my brief introduction to meditation (see below) that some of you received when we had our Lenten meditation course a couple of years ago. Multiple scientific studies suggest that meditation is a powerful bulwark against stress and anxiety, an aide to cognition, and effective for managing health issues such as high blood pressure and chronic pain. Why not give it a try? (For now, you can probably ignore the bit about meditation in the grocery line or when stuck in traffic since, alas, we are all pretty much stuck at home!)
May God's blessing, grace and peace surround you, uphold you, sustain you, and dwell in your heart this day and always.
Reverend Bob’s Introduction to Meditation
Find a quiet place.
Sitting comfortably, gently close your eyes, or leave them softly open.
Observe the sensations of breathing—the rise and fall of your belly, the flow of air through your nostrils. The rhythm and depth of your breath may change.
If you wish, allow the rhythm of your breath to intermingle with the unspoken sound of a simple syllable or word: “ah”, “love”, “one”, etc.
As thoughts arise in your mind (as they most likely will), acknowledge them, release them and gently return your attention to your breath.
When your meditation time is complete, open your eyes slowly and gradually increase your awareness of the world around you.
Allow your tranquil, unhurried meditative state of mind to flow into your daily activities.
(A note about time: There is no minimum meditation time. One full breath fully attended to can change your mood, your day and perhaps your whole life. Still, many people benefit from setting aside as few as 5 or as many as 60 minutes once or twice each day for meditation. Do what you can. As with any practice, it’s better to do what you can than to not to do anything because you tried to do what you could not. If necessary, you can keep track of time by having a watch or clock easily visible. Lightly open your eyes to see how much time has passed.
A note about place: As with time, there is no rule. Any place can be propitious for meditation—a grocery line, a traffic jam [careful with the closed eyes!], a forest trail. Yet, again as with time, many people benefit from designating a particular quiet place in their home or at their office for regular meditation sessions.)
“It is indeed good news that, at any moment we need or desire, we can very simply enter into ourselves and find there a place of deep peace and joy, a place where dwells the source of all good, all life, all strength; an ever-faithful love that totally affirms us with the gift of being and life …” M. Basil Pennington, OCSO