In a poem, Walt Whitman once wrote, “As to me I know of nothing else but miracles.” Whitman then proceeds to enumerate miracles found in places as diverse as Manhattan streets and shoreline beaches. He sees miracles everywhere from the work of honeybees on a summer afternoon to “the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring.” Whitman summarizes his thoughts in declaring:
This past week our church was discussed in a Columbian article on a recent interfaith prayer breakfast at which Pastor Brooks Berndt served as the keynote speaker. Berndt discussed his recent book in which he details our church’s involvement in social justice struggles. Berndt’s book is entitled Sounding the Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice. It is coauthored with the Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. The kindle version was released this past week on Amazon.
Year after year our church shows signs of vitality. This can be seen both in how we care for each other and how we care for those suffering in the broader world. This past year I recall hearing a member say, “Our members do a better job of caring for each other than any church I have been in.” At the same time, we intentionally involve ourselves in the world beyond our walls through our service, advocacy, and action. A few months ago the director of a non-profit organization told me that he frequently cites our church in conversations with office staff because of our example of social engagement. One of the fruits of our vitality is that we continue to attract and gain new members with twelve joining in 2013 and seven joining already this year.
This Easter season I invite you to undertake a spiritual practice that will add meaning to your life. More specifically, I invite you to think of ways you can bring the Spirit of Love into your life through heartfelt acts of caring regard and generous giving. If it should help generate your own thoughts and practices, I will share with you my own plan of action. For this Easter season, my spiritual practice will be to bring to life the Spirit of Love that my grandmother once modeled for me. Together with Danalyn, I will be making “Bunnies with Jelly Bean Shoes” for us to deliver as gifts. These scrumptious sweets are essentially sugar cookies made with a bunny shaped cutout and—as the name suggests—jelly beans for shoes. My grandmother made them every Easter, and now I want to pass along this tradition of caring regard and generous giving to my daughter as we use the same cookie cutter that my own mother has used in the past.