Wednesday Greetings – March 18, 2020

Due to the quarantines, yesterday’s commemoration of St. Patrick suffered the loss of parties, parades, and the customary celebrations featuring corned beef and cabbage. I missed all that.  Still, I was able to read a little bit more about the venerable Patrick and I learned something new. The tune of one of my favorite hymns, “Lord of All Hopefulness,” is called slane. It is also the tune for the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” Slane is named after the Hill of Slane in Ireland where St. Patrick lit a Paschal (Easter) fire in defiance of the pagan king.
I love to sing “Lord of All Hopefulness.” It is winsome. It was the Gospel acclamation at our wedding. The lyrics of the hymn ask God to be present at every moment of the day. Thanks to what I learned about Patrick, I may also find myself singing the hymn and humming its tune as an act of defiance in the face of suffering and death.The world is now confronting suffering and death with the corona virus pandemic. In times like these we may find ourselves praying more often, asking God to give us wisdom, a willing heart for neighbors in need, and some semblance of peace in the midst of this crisis.  Our prayers, spoken or sung, are also gestures of defiance.  We know that blessings do not flow from sickness, sin, and death. When we pray and sing to the living Christ, we insist upon putting our trust in the one from whom all blessings flow. Patrick’s fire reminds me of the Easter Vigil fire, a blazing symbol, like our songs and prayers, announcing that death will not have the final word.
Though we will not be worshiping together in person we will provide the Gospel and sermon for next Sunday through a video recording. Last Sunday’s video met with a positive response, so we’ll do it again. You can expect to receive it before Sunday. You may want to prepare by reading Sunday’s Gospel lesson. It is John 9:1-42, the amazing story of Jesus healing a man born blind.Though we are keeping our distance, know that you are part of the communion of saints. You are not alone. God holds us in tender care. Continue to sing and pray. In doing so, you’ll be lighting a fire.
Pastor Hansen