January 28, 2021
The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi
11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowship: https://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW: 007681
I have been reflecting, a lot, on the theme of connections. Walking on trails around Frederick, I see how the tree limbs intertwined and their roots tangle together underground and on top of the ground. The Green Committee has been helping me see the connection between my behavior, consumption, use and disposal of items affects the environment, including God’s people. The COVID pandemic has caused all of us to consider how we are connected in pain and sorrow as we see so many fellow citizens suffering from the virus but also how we need to pay attention to our behaviors that affect the health and wellbeing of neighbors around us.I’ve also been reflecting how we are connected in community, in the church, in Frederick, in the USA, and the world as we heal and rebuild relationships. As St. Paul instructs in the letter to Corinthians, we cannot say to one another, I have no need of you. We are bound together.I’m currently reading a book titled, Braiding Sweetgrass. Author, Robin Wall Kimmerer is a botanist and has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. She is also a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and embraces that plants and animals are among our oldest teachers. Her book is filled with wonderful reflections of her learnings that help the reader to make connections between science and our human experience of nature.In the preface to the book, I was struck by her words about the process of braiding a basket out of sweetgrass. As she described the process of the connection between the braiders and the braiding and the tension involved, I found myself connecting her thoughts with the experience of what we will need to do as a country in these days. We are connected and share a common bond with other citizens, no matter who they are and where they are on the political spectrum. As citizens, we are connected and called to find ways to braid together our experiences, even in the midst of the tension. That the tension helps to make the braid stronger but requires us working together.I invite you to reflect on her words and how they might speak to you today:
A sheaf of sweetgrass, bound at the end and divided into thirds, is ready to braid. In braiding sweetgrass so that it is smooth, glossy, and worthy of the gift-a certain amount of tension is needed. As any little girl with tight braids will tell you, you have to pull a bit. Of course you can do it yourself by tying one end to a chair, or by holding it in your teeth and braiding backward away from yourself-but the sweetest way is to have someone else hold the end so that you pull gently against each other, all the while leaning in, head to head, chatting and laughing, watching each other’s hands, one holding steady while the other shifts the slim bundles over one another, each in its turn. Linked by sweetgrass, there is reciprocity between you, linked by sweetgrass, the holder as vital as the braider… Will you hold the end of the bundle while I braid? And then I’ll hold it for you, while you braid, too.
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701