Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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July 8 Post

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“Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.” - Ecclesiastes 12:1

There’s a liminal place up in Maine where sky and sand meet on a rocky shore. Dogs and their humans walk there, kindly sniffing a canine greeting. Their masters smile and nod in passing, hands full of bits of gathered trash and found mittens. Bending low over a tidal pool, a treasure trove delights: a zillion glittering stones, smooth etched sea-glass and a handful of shells miraculously unshattered by wind and sea.

Who cannot remember their creator at such a moment? I remember the hulk of my own body brooding over uncountable tiny species that brought to mind our attentive God who must see all created things in like manner. The rich diversity of created life, black and purple and blue, all variation of tans to white, pleases the God who made them.

In light of all created wild things and beautiful, it is a great wonder to me that we humans still find it needful to discuss who’s in and who’s out. Which part of God’s creation is favored? On any given shore is it the species in grandest profusion? Or the rarest of finds? Is sea glass the more precious for it’s minority status, or the common clam that chowder chooses?

Consider the tidal pool: it’s infinite variety of creatures nourished by the same ever-flowing sea, warmed by the self-same sun of a thousand, thousand summers. We are the poorer when the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when we take no pleasure in that which was meant for joy. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, with that backward Sankofa glance towards an ever- receding horizon, until that day we meet our Creator face to face. Then beyond mattering what we prefer, we join the rich and endless variety of created things that wait for us with compassion and without judgment on the other side.

Prayer: God grant us eyes to see and ears to hear the lessons of your creation in the summer sabbath season. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

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

July 1 Post

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“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” -- I Corinthians 13:4

In recent years, my husband Ellis and I traveled with friends to visit family in Provence, France. We wandered by back roads so steep I wished at one point that we’d rented a Jeep instead of a Hyundai. Our host Marie Sophie lived at the top of a mountain overlooking the distant sea in a former ruins. Her front yard was torn up from the hooves of wild boar and she told stories of the shepherd who crosses her land every spring and fall as he has for the past forty years, taking his sheep up the furthest mountain to graze for the summer, and coming down again each fall when the weather turns chill.

She talked about his devotion: never leaving his sheep, relying on the sheepdog to protect them while he sleeps, gathering them back when they wander away, and moving them towards fresh grass and water when they hunger and thirst.

This then is an image of God’s love. The Lord is our shepherd, we want for nothing. God makes us lie down in green pastures, God leads us beside still waters, God restores our soul. God loves us so much that God cares for us all the days of our life. As the sheep of God’s pasture, we may not notice the shepherd always lingering nearby. We take for granted that the shepherd is always there as the shepherd always has been. Love watching out for us, love guiding us and protecting us, love leading us to pleasant places we would not have thought to go for purposes unseen.

The good shepherd remains tirelessly, endlessly patient, and kind, never envious or boastful or proud or rude. The shepherd loves us unconditionally, yet asks that if there is any gratitude in us, we respond to God’s generosity by loving whoever God places in our path, loving as we have been loved.

Prayer: God of love and light, we think we love, and yet we grow impatient with ourselves. We consider ourselves kind, yet notice how quick tempered we can become when we don’t get our way. Help us be truly kind, generous and loving with all we encounter today. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach
Previously published 6-13-18

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