Dear “Virtual” Southminster Members,

The warm weather and blue skies of this week have been welcomed and granted me with renewed strength.  After the smoke of the fires that blocked the sun and left a gloomy world in early September, I was beginning to think that we were back in biblical times experiencing the 10 plagues of Egypt.  The question I was asking myself, how many plagues have we experienced this year and how many more to go?  And last week, with the first Presidential debate (I know it seems like a month ago), I felt completely disoriented and untethered with the state of our world and politics.  

But this week has been refreshing for me.  I am so grateful to my faithful friend, the beautiful Oak tree that stands outside my home office window.  The leaves have begun to turn, reminding me that the season is changing once again—reminding me that even the plagues of Egypt will not disrupt the cycle of life.  

The seasonal cycle is not a metaphor for change, of course. It is a metaphor for systems that remain constant in order to sustain the life we know.  The seasonal cycle is about predictability—it’s about how we are all connected to each other and the ecological systems that keep us grounded—not truly about change. And that gives me a sense of renewed hope. The scientifically proven systems around us always prevail.  

I am reminded of John Donne’s 400 year old poem.  These words have given me resolve to think globally in the face of those voices calling us toward fear and isolationism:

No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were.
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s
or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

May each of us continue to be refreshed by faith in each other and the science all around us.  We are not alone.  We are forever tethered to each other and to the seasonal cycles that give us hope.  Just ask my friend, the Oak tree?

Virtual Pastor Don
See you on Sunday,