Hello Friends Around The Table,
It is "Holy Week" in the practice of the Christian wisdom tradition and story; and we in Wyoming are entering a fourth full week of COVID-19 prevention/quarantine/shut-down. What does a so-called "Holy Week" have to do with those of us 'stuck' in our homes, routines completely upended, facing lack of work and financial security, scared for our health, wellbeing and the rising death toll?
Perhaps far more than we could have imagined. See a few reflections about this below. But first: details for this week's gathering.
This Week Around The Table:
We will gather virtually on Wednesday April 8th. 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. We need now, more than ever, to hear from each other and grow in our Studio of Love, even if if looks different than we are used to. 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.
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!
Good Friday, April 10th, at 2:30pm.
A Disruptor for the Disrupted
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday because it follows the details and unfolding drama of the final week that Jesus lived on earth. Palm Sunday was celebrated globally yesterday, April 5th. The weekend that this strange demonstration took place was that of the Passover celebration for the Jewish people, a festival celebrating the liberation of the Jewish nation from their captors in Egypt, generations before. Whenever the Jewish people celebrated a feast in their holy city of Jerusalem, the Roman government would up their presence and defense in the city to prove who was politically in charge.
So that particular Sunday, two vastly different processions entered the city of Jerusalem, demonstrating two hugely different claims. Jesus entered Jerusalem from the East with a particular point to make: he rode a humble donkey, cheered on and waved into the city with palms from the trees lining the way. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, and his followers came from the peasant class (1).
The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, entered the city from the West: with a particular point to make in demonstrating who was ultimately in power, to enforce the troops overseeing the festival, and to flaunt the strength of the military power. He processed with a "cavalry on horses, foot soldiers, leather armor, helmets, weapons, banners, golden eagles mounted on poles, sun glinting on metal and gold. Sounds: the marching of feet, the creaking of leather, the clinking of bridles, the beating of drums" (2).
The contrast couldn't have been more clear or striking: power vs. peace.
Jesus was disrupting every status quo expectation of both the Jewish nation and the Romans who ultimately governed them. Jesus was demonstrating that only the peaceable kin-dom would "win" in the final count. Jesus was turning on its head the expectations of what power and "the one in charge" would look like. "This king, riding on a donkey, will banish war from the land—no more chariots, war-horses, or bows. Commanding peace to the nations, he will be a king of peace" (3). Jesus knew humanity required this kind of disruption in order to survive.
We will explore this more together on Wednesday evening as we consider how Jesus' disruption applies to the massive societal, cultural and personal disruption we're experiencing in 2020 because of a global pandemic called COVID-19.
For now, a question for us to ponder is this:
Which procession are we in? Which procession do we want to be in?
The procession of power and domination?
Or the procession of peace and restoration?
Mercy in Disruption - Breath Prayer
Consider using the following breath prayer as you seek to understand the disruption we find ourselves in because of COVID-19. It may help you to let go of attachments, compulsions and addictions and wake up to love. If Jesus 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:
Jesus, disruptor of the powerful
have mercy on me,
I am craving peace.
1. My brain serves me in responding to fear, pain and sadness
2. I will not dwell in the worst-case scenario
3. I will refocus on a day at a time/week at a time mentality
1. I can be both afraid and courageous at the same time
2. I am loveable and good, no matter how I am coping with this new world
3. I can be both anxious and joyous at the same time.
1. I can nourish my body with healthy food
2. I can seek out a friend, family member or neighbor to serve right now
3. I can chose a routine that allows me to move and stretch and breathe in my body
1. I can be honest and truthful about how scared and uncomfortable I am right now
2. I can listen to guiding voices of wisdom who have gone through hard things before
3. I will chose to process with peace, not with fear
Prayers for our Community
- for the unemployed and underemployed
- for those who currently have COVID-19 and long to recover
- for the immunocompromised, elderly, pregnant
- for the decision makers and those in power leading the way
- for those who are grieving death because of COVID-19
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
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Sunday Prayers, Nadia Boltz Weber
April 5th, 2020... Aka Palm Sunday
Some of us are exhausted by a constant stream of bad news.
Some of us are exhausted from the effort of trying to not freak out.
Some of us are exhausted by not knowing how we will pay rent.
Some of us are exhausted from the effort of trying to entertain and educate and feed and love children who are stuck at home.
Some of us are exhausted by the 13 hour shifts in a hospital we no longer recognize, working a job we are afraid might kill us.
Some of us showed up to this pandemic with pre-existing physical and mental health conditions that were already exhausting.
Some of us are exhausted by loneliness.
Some of us are exhausted by waiting so long for a new season of Succession.
And some of us are exhausted by the effort of trying to make this all ok for everyone else.
Life is so strained and tender right now.
I know that not a single one of us is promised another day, God.
But I guess I am asking for the strength for just the one we are in.
Give us today our daily strength.
Strength for today, and if you could spare it, bright hope for tomorrow.
ps- HOSANNA in the highest
Footnote: (1, 2, 3) Borg, Marcus J.. The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem (Kindle Locations 119-121). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.