Napkin Kisses

Last week, we celebrated the life of Carol Czerniawski as we commended her into the full presence of God.  I did not have the pleasure of meeting Carol in this life, but I learned a tremendous amount about a very special woman from her family and friends.  There is one story about Carol that provides a beautiful glimpse into her heart.  Each night she made lunches for her husband and children.  They would be lined up on the counter with their names attached.  Inside each bag was very often hidden a little note or smiley face, a ‘good luck!’ if someone had a test, or a lipstick kiss on a napkin for her husband.  Her thoughtful gestures communicated her deep love for her family, providing them with regular, tangible reminders of how precious they were and how much she cared for them.

Indeed, I believe Carol’s practice is a reminder of the way God leaves marks throughout creation and throughout our lives, seeking to share with us just how loved and precious we are.   And yet, I find that sometimes it is hard to remember or even see these reminders of God’s love as we get caught up in the living of our lives with our to-do lists, errands and responsibilities.   I’m always grateful when a love note from God breaks through the ‘noise’ of life—sometimes the reminder of God’s love comes in the form of a song or a conversation, sometimes it is an unexpected break in the schedule or the way the light reflects in the clouds, sometimes it comes to me through the kind gesture of another.  I find that the more I look for and celebrate these gifts of love, the more practiced I become at seeing them.

Last year I had a practice of sending out a weekly reflection by email to parishioners and others who were desired to receive them.   This reflection marks the beginning of that practice in our community of faith.  Sometimes I will address things going on in the parish, at other times I will share thoughts on what is happening in the world around us, or I will raise up insights from others.  My hope is that the reflections will be something like Carol’s smiley faces, notes or kisses, reminders of God’s love for you, my love for you and our shared life together as we seek to open ourselves to seeing and delighting in God’s ‘love notes’ to us.

And in two weeks, on Wednesday, October 2, at 7 pm, we will have the opportunity to celebrate together in a big way the ‘love note’ of our shared journey as a community of faith with our Bishop Jeff Lee.  As the Bishop has a set Sunday Visitation schedule for the year at parishes throughout the diocese, our celebration of shared ministry is held at a time when he can be present with us as we name and claim God’s loving presence and activity in our midst.  I hope you can join the celebration that evening and share in the fellowship of the reception following.  We will be joined by guests from around the diocese who share our joy with us.

I invite and encourage you to share with me the ‘love notes’ from God that you discover hiding in your days or anything else that comes up as a result of the reflections.  We are a community of learners, discovering together the adventure of love and life, and I am always grateful when others take time to share with me their experiences and reflections.