Hello Beloved Ones,
We're entering week three here in Wyoming of a city and statewide response to COVID-19 Prevention measures. How are you holding up? What is your response on this Spring-time Monday to our new abnormal?
Have you ever traveled or immigrated to a foreign country? Or perhaps just a different region of the USA? Have you noticed how the second you emerge from the vehicle and the long road trip, or exit the airport after a long flight - you're immediately on high-alert about your surroundings and absolutely everything feels, looks, smells, sounds and tastes different? Sometimes you might find yourself absolutely fascinated and obsessed with the culture you've landed in - you can't get enough and want to soak up everything about the experience. Sometimes you might find yourself repulsed and entirely frustrated with the culture you've emerged into -- you want nothing to do with your surroundings and want to reject everything about the experience. Sometimes, you might find yourself somewhere in the middle: some parts curious and excited; some parts terrified and defensive.
In many respects, the degree to which our lives have suddenly shifted "over night" may place you in a similar response to culture shock: most everything in our daily existence has shifted dramatically and what used to make sense or help us navigate has either changed completely or significantly morphed into something else. ALL OF IT has completely reformatted in the past two weeks and NONE OF IT was by our choice. How is your mind, heart, body and spirit responding to these changes? There is a "Check-in" list below to help you process this culture shock.
What you can expect around The Table this month and week:
For now, you can expect to gather virtually/online the entire month of April: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. We are gathering via ZOOM which means you can join the "call" by telephone or by video conference. We hope you'll join us so we can see your face, and listen to your voice -- so as we continue in this shocking place of change and response to a global pandemic. If you need help understanding how to connect, ask Pastor Libby for help!
This Wednesday at 6:15pm we will begin with Kids Korner for all our precious kiddos.
At 6:35pm, in our larger community, we'll be exploring sustaining practices while we find ourselves in this disorienting wilderness.
See the ZOOM invitation & instructions at the bottom of this email.
Pastor Libby is offering a "Round Table Check In" via Zoom this week as a means to simply being together without an agenda -- if you'd like the company, come hang out!
Saturday April 4th at 10am.
LamentA lament is: a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.
To lament is: to mourn (loss, death, change)
This is a season in our lives where we need to create space for lament. For some of us the lament may be strong, overwhelming and immediate. For others, it might be softer, less immersive and gradual. And yet, we need to acknowledge the individual and collective mourning we're experiencing right now. Our health is at risk, this global COVID-19 pandemic is scary and could affect ourselves or those we love & care about, the economy is shaky and our livelihoods are at risk, our normal routines for work and school and socializing have disappeared, we may be very lonely, worried and anxious. Whatever culture-shock this massive shift is creating in us, we need to acknowledge the pain, grief, sorrow, sadness, depression and worry this is causing us.
When the children of Israel found themselves in exile, far from home and away from absolutely anything that made sense or comforted them - they sang mournful songs to express their angst. One example of such a song is found in Psalm 137.
By the rivers of Babylon—
Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How could we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?
If you're asking yourself how it is possible to sing a song of hope when times seem so bleak, you're not alone and this is not the first time in our collective-faith history that we have lamented and grieved together. Keep asking those questions. They matter right now.
As I admit these things, I attempt to turn my attention to what is inside my control, which are my choices and responses. I attempt to turn my energy to what I am capable of, and how I can love myself gently, and others with courage. I attempt to turn my imagination to thinking outside the box when nothing that was "normal" applies any more. I attempt to use my honesty and authenticity to practice the way of love in a foreign land called "Global Pandemic 2020". I attempt to surrender to a God who loves me and us and this earth, despite this crazy "crack in the earth" that is COVID-19.
As a community called The Table, of doubters and disciples together, we expect this journey to be messy. And we know, we're better together as God's beloved. Let's lean into this culture shock and lament, together.
ConfessionFor now, I am taking solace that it's okay to admit:
- I am in culture shock.
- I don't know how to proceed.
Be Here Now - a Breath Prayer
Consider using the following breath prayer as you seek to understand the culture shock your system is experiencing right now. It may help you to let go of attachments, compulsions and addictions and wake up to love. If God is difficult language for you, perhaps substitute "Love". Pray the words as many times as is helpful, and then settle in to listen to your breath as a means to listen to God's response:
God (open palms skyward)
I am right here (circle hands toward your body or the earth)
right now (circle hands toward your body or the earth)
open to you (palms and arms open skyward)
1. If I am too overwhelmed, I can share with a trusted friend or mental-health resource what my experience is like
2. I can seek to understand and identify the needs I am experiencing at this time
3. I can write down and observe my mental state and needs
1. I can remind myself: it's okay to not be okay.
2. I can seek to understand and identify the range of emotions I am experiencing at this time
3. I can take a break when I need it, and read or sing or watch a movie or play a game or exercise to practice my favorite hobby
1. I can practice listening to what my body is telling me by getting quieter and stiller than my racing mind
2. I can take a hot bath or shower
3. I can leave my house or apartment, even if it is just to walk the block, sit on my porch or stoop, and breathe the fresh air
1. I can ask others to listen to me and pray with me
2. I can use a journal or art or music or movement or poetry or meditation to express my experience to God
3. I can read sacred scripture to inspire me beyond my own private experience
Prayers for our Community
- for our youth and children who are in varying stages of lament and change
- for our medical staff and responders who are working so courageously to meet overwhelming need
- for those who are lonely
- for those who are hungry
- for those who currently have COVID-19 and are scared
See a list of resources below the signature.
If you are immunocompromised, or in need of physical support right now - please reach out to us -- the office number is listed in our signature and you can always find us on Facebook or email.
You are loved, dear hearts.
In the same way, let us love and serve each other so that those to whom love is a stranger might find in us, generous friends.
From the Studio of Love,
Pastor Libby & The Table Leadership Team
Venue: temporarily online.
Join us via ZOOM on Wednesdays at 6:15pm MT
307.363.1490 | Casper, WY
Follow us on Facebook
Audrey Assad, "Lead Kindly Light"
Westminster Chorus, "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"
- Science Mike grants some answers
An emotionally focused, compassionate response to: "How Long Will COVID-19 Last"
A gentle, realistic description, "Coronavirus, COVID-19"
- The RobCast
- Fr. Richard Rohr's Two Week Meditation Series
starts today, " The Patterns That Are Always True"
The Table is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: The Table Virtual Gathering
Time: Apr 1, 2020 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Wed, until Apr 29, 2020, 5 occurrence(s)
Apr 1, 2020 06:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 273 202 561
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Meeting ID: 273 202 561
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