Reflections 3/13/11

I would like to thank you for participating in the special collection to send to the Red Cross to help with rescue efforts in Japan. Several families in our church have family and friends there, and are personally affected by the disasters there. So far, everyone they know is safe, but it is still emotionally frightening to hear about loved ones so close to danger. The enormity of the earthquake and the tsunami are frightening and humbling for all of us, a reminder that the earth is capable of such destructive forces, as natural as they may be. There are things for which no amount of preparation can protect us.

When I planned the special collection for this past Sunday, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee had not organized any relief fund. If you are interested in donating to relief efforts through the UUA, here is the information:

Following Friday’s devastating earthquake and resulting tsunamis, the UUA has been in contact with our religious partners in Japan to express our concern and our willingness to partner with them in recovery efforts.  Our partners, including Rissho Kosei-kai, Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the Konko Church of Izuo, the Tokyo Dojin Church, and the Japan Chapter of the International Association for Religious Freedom are all in discernment about the specific efforts they will be taking to support recovery work, and the UUA will walk with them in the directions that are ultimately chosen.  Please join with UUs throughout the United States by contributing to the UUA’s Japan Relief Fund which will support the work that our Japanese partners pursue.
You can go to their website, to donate.

Meanwhile, I offer the meditation I shared on Sunday morning by Theresa Novak, found in Without or Without Candlelight, a Skinner House meditation manual edited by Victoria Safford. Prayer never hurts.

Pray with me now,
if you will.
I think
we need
to pray.

Pray with me now.
Not out to some great intervener,
a handsome stranger
coming to the rescue.
You don't have to barter your soul,
your mind, your free and restless spirit.
Pray with me now.

We need to pray loudly sometimes,
giving voice in word or gesture
to the urgent fires within our hearts.

Screaming out, "Why this?"
"How long?"
Screaming out for help, for courage.
Outrage rumbles through our veins
and the pulse of our prayer is ragged.

Pray with me now,
if you will,
I think
we need

We need to pray softly sometimes,
our silent bodies held still,
a quiet hope, rising in the wind,
blowing about the world in wonder.

Pray with me now.
Pray silently or out loud.

Our very prayers are an answer,
the pulse of life, of hope,
in our oh so human hearts.
May our prayers be heard.
to pray.

p.s The latest Table of Plenty newsletter offers thanks to individuals from First Parish and our congregation as a whole, information about an upcoming fundraising concert by the Tervos, and a guest column written by yours truly. If you are interested, you can read it on their website,

In faith,
Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824