8:03 AM It's a bit gloomy outside this morning. The joy is that the daylight comes earlier now, and stays longer. I can cope so much better when the days are longer. Today's Psalm, 30, has that wonderful line in it, "Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning." (v.6)

Thoughts on a February Morning

Usually, I am getting ready to start my seedlings, and have already ordered all the seeds for my garden by now. This year, because I am away for part of the week, I have decided to buy my tomato plants. And I haven't looked at my seed catalogues; they are piled up on the brick apron for the wood stove, waiting for me.

There are two obstacles in the way of my preparing for my garden; one is time to research the new varieties (one of my favorite occupations), and the other is that, without an income, I don't have that extra cash to buy seeds. And when one has had to spend nearly $500 on books, AGAIN, one feels hesitant about spending the extra money.

This is all very ironic, because THIS year I will have the summer off, which means plenty of time to muck about in the garden. I haven't had this luxury for several years. So, I must soldier on and plan that garden and order those seeds. It would be particularly stupid to lose this summer of leisure.

That all said, this has been a particularly difficult week with a paper to write, about 15 hours of reading to complete, a children's chapel to plan, a "blurb" to write for the church newsletter, shopping, laundry, etc. etc. It's so easy to begin to feel frantic along about Saturday afternoon.

My goodness, I didn't know this was going to be a "poor me" session when I started! I'm not really feeling sorry for myself, just a little overwhelmed. At least this semester I understand more of my readings than I did the first semester. In fact, I'm enjoying the reading, in spite of the level of difficulty. Theology, in particular, is hard to get my mind around. I have come to the conclusion that my faith is rather primitive, and words like "hypostasis", "deterministic", and "indeterminacy" make me crazy. Or phrases like the following from my major text by Thomas and Wondra, "the discovery of the ubiquity in nature of chaotic dynamic systems and by the discovery of quantum mechanics." or, "there is an actual indeterminacy at the subatomic level."

Hmmmm! When did theology become physics?

On a different note, we did a dramatic interpretation of an event in the life of Absalom Jones, the first Black priest in the Episcopal Church, on his saint's day, Tuesday. Absalom Jones was ordained as a priest in the church in 1802, long before the Civil War. It was a hard row for him to get there, however. He and a few other "Negroes" had been attending the church, which was overwhelmingly white, for a while. Absalom was evidently an evangelist, because he brought many Black people into the church. The white congregation got nervous about all these Black folk, and tried to get them to sit up in the balcony. Jones quietly refused, and he and his friends knelt in prayer in the pews they had always used.

There was an uproar (this is the scene we enacted, and I was part of the white congregation who was in uproar), and finally Jones and his friends were hustled out of the church by men carrying muskets. Jones refused to turn away from the Episcopal church, although his friend, Richard Allen, did. The latter broke from Jones and the Episcopal Church to begin the AME Zion church. Absalom, as a layreader, kept his congregation together, and got permission from the Bishop to continue services at another site.

This church grew to 500 members in a year, and the Bishop eventually ordained Absalom Jones. St. Thomas, in Philadelphia, is still an active church. Although there are many Episcopal Churches that are fully integrated, the tradition of the Black Episcopal Church, which is in full communion with the rest of the church, is a proud one. And so we celebrated Absalom Jones, who was known as a strong, but quiet and gentle, man and a good preacher. The young man who played the part of Absalom in the little playlet is also a strong and gentle man. And a Black Episcopalian who grew up in an integrated church.

Our preacher at the Eucharist that day was another strong, Black Episcopal priest, Dr. Henry T. Lewis, from Pittsburgh, PA. He minced no words during his sermon, charging us all, Black and White, to continue to break down the barriers that exist between the races. We sang a rousing hymn about Absalom Jones, and I noticed, midway in the hymn, that Dr. Lewis had written it!

At Communion, everyone joined us in the breaking of bread and wine; Black and White, Episcopalian, Methodist, AME Zion, Presbyterian, Baptist. It was a fitting tribute to Absalom Jones. Oh, and the young man who played the part of Richard Allen, is a pastor in the AME Zion Church. He and "Absalom" are great friends.

How lucky I am to be in this faith community. In spite of the truly hard mental work I have to do, my faith and my call become stronger as I have these experiences and interact and worship with these wonderful people.

Life is VERY good. Thanks be to God. Amen

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