Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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March 25 Post

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Today is my birthday. It started off fine, with giggling phone calls from grandchildren and a waffle and egg delivered by my husband with hot coffee first thing. It’s an awkward day to celebrate. After all, the restaurants are closed and birthday hugs are in short supply, all with good reason. My gift of a new bike helmet and side mirrors to keep me from crashing into somebody on A1A will be sufficient. I’m of a certain age that I no longer need a party and balloons. Besides, the most important celebration is coming soon.

Palm Sunday is a week away with Holy Week and Easter close behind. We’ve all been wondering how we’ll celebrate this year. It turns out that creative plans are in the works. Though we won’t be filling the sanctuary as we had hoped, Holy Week will begin with Drive Through Palm Sunday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. If you are able to drive on over to the church, one of us will issue from a socially acceptable distance a sign of peace, and slip a prayer and a palm under your windshield wiper for you to enjoy when you return home. We’ll worship on-line live C2 at 8:30 and Sanctuary worship live at 10:00 through our web-site.

Stay tuned for plans for the rest of Holy Week, but for now, remember this. Every morning is Easter morning. Every day is a new birth day for faith. Every sunrise offers a little resurrection and the promise that the past is over and gone. Every morning we rise forgiven, a fresh slate stretching before us to use, spend or lose. It is said that a famous theologian once jumped on his bed each morning, shouting, “I am baptized.” He apparently claimed each day as God’s gift with abandoned joy. That’s the kind of birthday I want, don’t you?

I feel a little sorry for my husband, trying to make plans. But the truth is, it matters little to me what we do or how we celebrate. As I think through every possibility, I keep returning to the good news that my birthday falls this year shortly before Holy Week. In life, in death, every morning is Easter morning. Every day is our birth-day in Christ. You don’t have to wait until the anniversary of your entrance to the world to celebrate. Today is God’s birth day present for you. Open it.

Prayer for Today: O Holy One, thank you for the opening of this new day. May it reveal fresh possibilities for serving you with gladness of heart. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

March 18 Post

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble…” - Psalm 46:1

Question: How are you staying connected?

The seagulls rose as one, their perfect synchronicity evident and unrehearsed. Rising and falling they circled the beach, then arched across the water into light. From the dawn of time, birds in flight taught us lessons on social distancing we may not previously have noticed. They draft off-wing from one another, the one before, behind, equi-distant so all may fly.

The social distancing under which we reluctantly avoid the very contact that makes us human, may also make it possible for us to move together though apart. Though separated for a time, we remain as inextricably connected with one another as birds in flight. That’s the covenant we make when we promise to love God and neighbor as self. In wedding vows, we proclaim that: “what God has joined together, let no one separate.” This reminds us that through seasons of want and plenty, through sickness and in health, we pledge to love and care for one another always in the name of the one who showed us the way.

We trust that God works for good in all things, so I’m curious about the ways God is at work through social distancing and self-quarantine. I’m wondering what imaginative ways we will stay connected as a community, whether we greet one another face to face, or not.

What if just for this week, we imagine that our survival depends as much upon our connection as our distance from those who usually join us in fight? How can we creatively connect with those in our circle of care, to let them know we love them and we are with them, until that day when we unite in the flesh once more?

Prayer: Loving and merciful God, grant the assurance that you are here now. Give the gift of quiet and rest; pour forth renewal of strength; guide our flight across new waters. And in all things, we affirm that you are indeed our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Amen.

God’s Grace, Mercy and Peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida

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