A month after the solstice, it now feels like winter has arrived with its cold and snow. I have started taking daily walks in the past week, rousing myself from a sedentary routine where I was not getting outside much or getting regular exercise. My walk usually takes me to the city parks by the river.
When I cross the river on a footbridge I stand and appreciate the water flowing below me. I’m amazed that the river flows so deep and strong at this time of year. One day this week I noticed that ice was beginning to form on the edge of the river, extending about three feet from the bank. Looking ahead on the path, I saw someone else also going for a walk, and as I watched he picked up some snow and threw it onto the ice. I thought he was trying to punch through the ice, but the snowball splattered on impact, sending snow exploding and skittering across the ice to disappear into the flowing water.
“That’s cool!” I said. It was so fun and beautiful that I had to try it. Like a little boy, I threw the snow again and again, hearing the smack of snow hitting ice, the skidding sound of snow sliding across ice, seeing the pattern of white snow on dark ice.
It is tempting to stay inside and warm during the cold and snowy days, but the reward of going out in the winter is precious. I bundle up, I walk briskly, and I try to take what is offered—beauty, serenity, or just a break in the routine of my time indoors. I’m grateful that I’m able to fit this into my day and that my body is able to do this. I’m grateful for the winter, the snow, the river, for my chance companions on the path, and for the joy of the little boy within.
Spirit of Winter, hear this prayer.
Spirit of the North, snowy owl, wisdom of the elders, be with me now. May I be open to the wisdom of winter.
May the simplicity of winter show us what we need to see, a figure against the white background of snow.
The forest sleeps and we move through it alert and silent, like a hare. May we be alive to the wisdom of winter, within and without.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
I’m shocked and saddened by the political violence in Washington DC today. I’m scared for the future of our democracy and the peace of our cities. I’m angry because Mr. Trump encouraged his people to do this, and didn’t stop them. I’m angry because the police presence and police response to the white mob of Trump supporters is totally different from the response to Black Lives Matter protestors. I am sad for this nation, for the loss of peace at its center. The act of democratic, peaceful transfer of power has been a hallmark of this nation for more than a century. We can no longer say that. This is now a violent transition of power.
As this unrest unfolds on our TV screens and Americans are riveted by it, I invite all of us to take care of ourselves. Let us breathe and calm ourselves. Let us reach out to loved ones, friends and neighbors and keep each other safe. Let’s talk and pray together. Let’s look for what this teaches us about ourselves and our nation, what this calls us to do and how to live.
As people of conscience and of faith, we denounce violence. We lift up compassion, generosity, humility, and community. We dream of a community, a city, and a nation without violence; with public safety and public health a priority. We still believe this is possible, and we will work to make it so.
Divine spirit within us, between us, and beyond us, may there be peace.
May the rioters be done with their vandalism and cease. May the angry mob put down their flags and their weapons, and remember their humanity.
May the lawmakers be safe in their chambers and their offices. May the citizens of the nation’s capital be safe in their homes and businesses and the public places of the city.
Divine spirit, bless America. May all Americans see this violence and be ashamed. May this nation rise from this moment into a more loving, more just, more peaceful tomorrow.
By all that is holy, may it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
Rev. Andrew Frantz
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