Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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April 29 Post

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“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my supplications!” - Psalm 130

I see them now down by the river: adolescent boys casting lines or net towards imagined fish lurking just below the surface waiting; a young woman taking her dinghy out past the lagoon at sunrise. Back at the river park, a yoga class spreads out across the grass, socially distanced yet near enough to share a story and laugh about it. Older men park lawn chairs in a wide circle, clutching drive-through breakfast bags and hot coffee as their morning ritual begins.

Beneath the apparent pleasures of what looks to be a perfect spring day, a shadow lingers. Weeks of social distancing leave more of us than not, lonely and anxious about many things. Our shuttered houses and hearts need a bit more sunshine and a lot more hugs.

Others who re-discovered the secret pleasures of reading, or making a simple meal, or taking a walk down a nearly deserted lane at sunset may feel guilty to experience pleasure when so many suffer.

The writer of the Psalms meets the discouraged with words of hope. Our God is big enough to hear the truth of our lament. As God’s beloved children, we don’t have to pretend everything is all right all the time. Sometimes it isn’t. Some things hurt. Some situations are so big that they take a whole season to resolve, or even years. Grief hangs on longer than we think or want.

With more time on our hands, a sadness may rise unbidden that we can’t yet safely visit family members: parents, children, grandchildren, sibling, or even that long planned trip with a dear friend.

Psalm 130 includes the promise that there is hope for you, and that we can watch and wait for it expectant with each new day. We are reminded throughout this Easter season that every morning is Easter morning. As Easter people, the old has passed away, the new is come. Whatever you’re up against, whatever is up against you, remember this good news:

“O Vero Beach, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
And with God is great power to redeem.” Psalm 130, verse 7

You are loved. You are not alone. All manner of things shall be well.

Grace, Mercy and Peace,

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

April 22 Post

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Pied Beauty

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

On this, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, there is perhaps nothing more important to say than “Thank You”, to the One who brought all things into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” (From John 1).

As people who worship a Creator God, we cannot help but deeply respect the mystery, wonder and beauty of our spectacular home. We share this love of our planet with more than a billion people from every nation and religious background who for differing reasons, share our gratitude and commitment to care for all creatures and creation.

This day once each year represents an invitation to change our behaviors to practices that support a healthier planet. Perhaps never have we been more mindful of that need than now. Our efforts may be humble, but cumulatively matter.

A few years ago, I noticed that a Jewish friend travels everywhere with metal cutlery and straw, a drinking glass, cup, plate and cloth napkin. At every picnic and party, she resists using disposable products. While this means that she always carries a little portable cloth bag with her gear, it also means that her life bears witness to one way that together we could eliminate from our landfills annually: 480 billion plastic bottles, half a billion plastic straws, 16 billion disposable coffee cups, and 14 million tons of Styrofoam.

One year for Lent I gave up buying any product in the grocery store that was wrapped in plastic. It was quite a challenge. Even the health food store placed meat on a Styrofoam tray before transporting it to recyclable paper and handing it to me.

I think God knows we can’t each one of us do everything, but I wonder what one thing we could choose to do differently, so that this blue planet we call home might live.

Prayer: God, make us mindful of the home you have made for all creatures lovely and spare. Teach us how to care for creation as we care for ourselves, in gratitude for this beautiful, precious world. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Dr. Anna V. Copeland