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Faith Matters: Reflections for renewal

A poem I received at a women’s retreat almost a decade ago showered light on the activity of this past year. Selected below are four parts of Rev. Dr. Alla Bozarth-Campbell’s 16 verses of “Passover Remembered” with my thoughts interjected between the phrases. I hope other readers can relate as well to this subtitled “Mandate for Ministry” from one of the first female Episcopalian priests.

“Pack Nothing.”

I have not traveled in almost a year!

“Bring only your determination to serve… Surrender to the need of the time — to love justice and walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 is a favorite Bible verse: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV).

“You will learn to eat new food and find refuge in new places.”

Many meals have been prepared at home. And home, what a refuge indeed with a back yard of nature. For whenever there is doubt, frustration, restlessness, or need for refreshment, the backyard calls and talks. Water, birds, squirrels, ducks, wind, trees, clouds, and breeze give peace intermittently. This breath of renewal is all provided by Mother Nature.

“The stories you tell one another… will make you strong and wise.”

Keeping connected with family and friends through snail and email, phone and text, Facetime and Zoom, has been unending and sustaining.

“You will get where you are going by remembering who you are.”

With courage and added wisdom we forge forward, always sheltered by God’s grace.

“Touch each other and keep telling the stories.”

Even though physical touching has been distanced, strength is replenished. Through patience and silent hope, surrounded by the beauty of a white winter and the coming of a muddy, green spring, promise grows. Celebrations begin with the joy that has been postponed too long.

Attempt to remain calm, rethink priorities, and recommit to healthier living. You can reclaim individual intentions and be restored beyond focusing on self.

Another inspiration is Ina Mae Duley Ogden’s 19th century hymn titled “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” which accents the need to share compassion, forgiveness, humility, and love. Walk humbly with hope in your heart. Let peace and justice light the way. Follow your “Mandate for Ministry” with words, deeds, and actions for change. Read Isaiah 61 in its entirety.

Gail Landers, a member of New Covenant United Church of Christ and the Christian Social Concerns Committee of The United Churches of Lycoming County.

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