An invitation to pray

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As the month of February comes to an end and March dawns, I think about the fact that on March 12, 2024 we will mark the 4- year anniversary of the shutdown felt all over the world caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. Initially it was like one of those traumatic flash bulb moments like the day JFK was assassinated (which dates me) or 9/11/2001 a day that shakes you to your core and that you will never forget. Four years later however, as we have learned to live with Covid among us, many things have changed, which for me recently recalled the Richard Rhor quote “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” What does that mean for you? For me there are quite a few things that have changed and have shifted the trajectory of my life.
Among the many things that changed for me during Covid was my prayer life. I have always been a person of prayer, but consistency was always a challenge. That all transformed during Covid. How many of us can recall when St. Paul’s shut its doors and we were all in homes with no access to Church? However, though we could not meet in person on Sunday, for several months we met on Zoom each morning around 8.30 am and each evening as the darkness of night descended with a lit candle, an icon and sometimes a bible and a cross, by the river that runs outside of Father Daniel’s home, to pray and most importantly to keep our spirit of community and feel God’s presence in our lives.
Though I had known Usil Skinner for the almost 18 years that I have been at St. Paul’s praying with her daily during this period was a transformative moment in my life. This was a woman of deep faith which was unshakable and for me inspiring. I came to know her in a very different way and will always be grateful for her faithfulness and love extended during that period. It would be almost two years before we were able to return to Church but once we did, prayer did not end. A small group of parishioners continued to meet daily online and on Zoom Monday through Saturday and as time went by Monday through Friday.
That prayer practice still exists today. On Monday and Friday if you get on the St. Paul’s Facebook page at 8.30 a.m. you will hear our parishioner Joe Shafranek leading Morning Prayer and if you use Zoom you can check the calendar on our website on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8.30 a.m. when I lead Morning Prayer with a core group of parishioners some as far away as Germany! We, with only one exception, have been praying together weekly for 4 years!! I can hardly believe all this time has passed, but the fellowship we have built through seasons and illness and people having to take time off, has been incredible. It has certainly built my prayer life and I have found that there is nothing more joy filled than praying with others. As we walk this Lenten season, I invite you to join us any morning you can manage. We have had lots of drops ins. I guarantee it will make your day as we share the readings and psalms of the day, talk about what resonates for us as we share and pray for the thanksgivings, needs and concerns in our lives and those of others. It’s a quiet time of the day to simply connect with God with others who walk this journey and with yourself. So if you are looking for how to live into new ways of thinking and being here is an easy one. We look forward to seeing you or drop Joe a note on the chat if you join him on Monday or Friday.

Gail Bindley-Taylor

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