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The Fires and The Courtyard

Hello –

The fires in Sonoma and Napa continue to be in all of our hearts. The smoke and the news are constant reminders that our neighbors to the north are going through an incredibly stressful and disorienting time. For some of us, the impact of the fires has been even more direct as some have volunteered in various capacities and others have hosted people who were displaced.

As I write, the fires are finally getting under control and the experts seem cautiously optimistic about containment. We are starting to receive considered reports about what the long next phase of recovery might look like.

This Sunday is our long scheduled Blessing of the Hardin Courtyard. The courtyard work is complete, including the beautiful plaque that is now draped by a sheet that will be pulled off at the blessing. We will be celebrating and giving thanks for the strong, steady and long-running ministry of our former Rector, the Rev. Hugh Hardin, and his family. The Hardins are one of the main reasons we are in such a strong position today.

The fire disaster has posed a stark question to us. In our strength, what are we called to do with our resources to meet the needs of our larger community when disaster strikes? This Sunday we will celebrate and give thanks as we bless the new courtyard. And I will also be asking us to pray for those whose lives have been disrupted by the fire, to reflect on our own responses these last two weeks, to make commitments to help now, if that is our call, and, finally, to get clear about what we can do to better prepare for the next disruption.

These are disorienting times. A faithful reading of scripture shows that God’s people have, time and again, faced disorienting times and learned, once again, that God is with them. I am deeply drawn these days to passages from Isaiah found in our service of noonday prayer:

“O God, you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you; for in returning and rest we shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be our strength.”

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