Published on October 6, 2021
                            Reflection – October 2021                 Deacon: Rev Liam Dunne


Hope is usually at the centre of my heart. But that was not the case a few weeks ago. I felt disheartened and wondered if anything would ever change regarding the damaging issues burdening humanity and our planet. My discouragement began one morning with a woman sitting on a park bench fully engaged with her phone while her unleashed dog chased young herons and ducks in the lake. I explained to her how this distressed the waterfowl and that they had few places to be safe. She just smiled and said, “Oh, I see,” and went right back to her phone. The next day as I neared the apartment building, I met a man carrying cardboard boxes to the dumpster. I suggested a recycling dumpster on the other side of the building. He replied, “Okay,” but went right over and popped the boxes in the garbage dumpster. The next day I was out for a walk when a man ahead of me stopped, looked down intently, and stomped on a grasshopper. I held back from reminding him that he was in the insect’s home and needed to respect its life. The final blow to my hope involved the news a day later when I listened to the volatile rhetoric and scary threats made by parents who yelled at a school board that was struggling to make a good decision regarding mask mandates.

Today I am fortunately in a different emotional space. How did hope return? First, I went to the recycling dumpster with some items and noticed it was half full. “Yes, there are others who care about our planet,” I thought, and immediately recognized the strength of kinship. Then I read the chapter “Why We Don’t Quit” in Kathleen Dean Moore’s latest book, Earth’s Wild Music. This revived my desire to stay the course with determination. Finally, I came across a familiar verse in scripture and allowed it to touch my heart:

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.   (Matthew11:28)

What “perfect timing.”  Of course, this gift is waiting for all of us, whatever our need and burdens might be. I can imagine this compassionate being saying the following to any of us:

“Come to me all of you…who live with uncertainty and insecurity about what the future will bring; who bear sorrow that shreds your heart into ribbons of sadness; who carry memories of trauma that nag at you and still cause pain; who worry about a loved one’s serious illness; who find it hard to believe you are worthy and valuable as you are; who are caught in addictions that eat away at your life and taunt your efforts to cease; who know the diminishments accompanying your later years of life; who doubt that our world will ever be a place of peacefulness for all people; who feel like giving up hope and want to quit trying to have a planet filled with compassionate care and harmony.

Come, come to me and find your rest, your peace. I have never left you, even when you have tried to go on without me, even when you forgot my promise to never put you out of my heart.  Come, come to me. I am here for you. Rest your burdens, your weariness and woe on the strengthening love I have for you.  Come, come to me.”

May you each find rest for whatever burdens or wearies you.

Abundant peace,

Joyce Rupp