Pure Joys

A Monday Meditation for November 2, 2020

For this week’s Monday Meditation, I offer these JOYS from YOU, St. Peter’s:


  • One of you contacted me to say that you joined us for worship online for the first time since this pandemic started. PURE JOY. It’s never too late to try out worship. Questions? Let me know. In need of technology help? Contact Spiritual Life Team Leader Chrissy Searcy at spirituallifelead@stpeterscarmel.org or Technology Team Leader Jon Crider at technologylead@stpeterscarmel.org. Yesterday’s worship is here.
  • Over 20 of you came to the Memory Garden and Labyrinth yesterday afternoon for our Grief & Gratitude event. We prayed; we cried; we lit candles; we shared love and laughter. PURE JOY.
  • The Halloween Zoom Call was a delight! So many creative costumes and so many smiles. PURE JOY.
  • Church Chat yesterday was a tender time for some of us. We were honest, vulnerable, and then we laughed and laughed. PURE JOY. (If you have not yet tried Church Chat via Zoom, please risk joining in on this creative way of connecting during the pandemic.)
  • One of you emailed to share where you’ve seen hope this week. There were small details and huge insights, and it was PURE JOY. (Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Becca and me with your Celebrations or your Hurts; we are here for you!)
  • During therapy, a hawk flew right over my house when a tough question was asked of me. I answered the question and sat with the discomfort. And then my dog crawled into my lap (my 55-lb rescue dog, to be exact), and I let her comfort me. PURE JOY.
  • A colleague reached out just to check on me. And another one sent a funny picture. And another one spent an hour on the phone with one of you because we are part of a wider United Church of Christ community and we have connections well beyond our St. Peter’s congregation – and it was all PURE JOY.
  • And there’s so much more… So. Much. More.



I will be honest and say that yesterday, All Saints Day, was the first of the “ritual” services that we had to adapt to be online. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany are coming. As a result, I cried a lot this week. I felt all of the feelings and poured over the pictures and stories that you shared about your loved ones. And in the midst of all of that, I didn’t always respond well to others. I didn’t always give myself the space that I needed to grieve or to grow. I didn’t always have a smile on my face, despite my wanting it to be there. I’m sharing this because many of you keep reaching out to say the same thing: “This is difficult.” “I just feel off.” “I don’t have any more room for emotions.” And as my four-year-old said, “That was a Too Big Day.”



But here’s the hope: We are in this together. We are entering a week when our country’s election system is going to be front and center and the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to challenge us. There will be communal hurts and individual pains for all of us, and they will all be unique. Noting these realities, I am choosing to pray more regularly than usual, and I welcome your prayer requests: email, text, snail mail, Marco Polo, phone, whatever. I’d be honored to spend some time with God and your prayers. I am going to try to focus on hope when the world seems overwhelming. I’ll let you know how it goes.



All of us are doing these “pandemic things” differently, and that is becoming more and more clear. 

My hope for you (and for each of us as individuals and as a community) is that we can continue to lean into our faith and each other as we journey into the unknown ahead.


Together While Apart,




  • St. Peter’s is a welcoming community. How are you finding yourself feeling welcomed or intentionally welcoming others? This can be related to St. Peter’s, to your neighbors, in your family, or even within yourself. What have you seen others share that feels welcoming and you long for? What are the things that feel like "welcome" that you miss? 
  • We share God’s love with the world. Similar to how we feel welcomed or seek to welcome others - how are you sharing God’s love? Have you been involved with activities through St. Peter’s where you have felt God’s love in these past few months? What are ways that you want to show God’s love in your neighborhood or with friends or to your church community? 
  • We are finding the Spirit in life. What speaks to your soul right now? Can St. Peter’s do something more or different or less that would encourage the Spirit in life? Are there ministries you would like to connect with? People you want to reach out to? Do you wonder about anything related to our community and how we stay together while apart?