And so I find it well to come
for deeper rest to this still room,
for here the habit of the soul
feels less the outer world’s control;
the strength of mutual purpose pleads
more earnestly our common needs;
and from the silence multiplied
by these still forms on either side,
the world that time and sense have known
falls off and leaves us God alone.
-from The Meeting by John Greenleaf Whittier
For deeper rest to this still room. We are back now to that still room, our still room, in community once more. There had been some sense of community all the dark months of a pandemic because of the technology of Zoom and the gifts of Deidre Hazelbaker and Kristin Lally in keeping us ‘linked.’ For those whose spirits are called to our still room, not even Zoom could fill the void of separation from those moments of gathered worship.
It has been a cautious return, under the guidance of our Health and Safety Committee. In the first weeks of homecoming, there was that blue tape sectioning off benches where we had once been free to sit side by side. Gone was the hospitality of our carry-in luncheons in the Fireside Room.
There was time to meet again in the sanctuary, or to sit outside and be linked to our mutual worship through Zoom, like Cathy Barney enjoyed on one sun filled First Day, or to still feel safe at home and join our Zoom worship. There was that joy that Zoom opened ways for us to be connected not only from our homes locally but to worship together digitally with members and visitors from across the nation and world, a link that will continue now as a way of growing an even more inclusive community.
And from the silence multiplied. Slowly and safely we continue our homecoming, rejoicing in the comfort and serenity in our still room, affirmed that we are one in the spirit and one in this amazing place, as one First Day we watch in awe as a family of deer, seven or eight of them, walk right up to and past our windows as we are in worship, looking in at us with no fear or concern, sensing, as we do, that all of the beings in this space and in this time are connected by the one great spirit of the universe.
No words need be spoken, not on that day and not on a following First Day, when again we look out the windows on the gift of our beautiful grounds and be affirmed by the visit of a mother deer and her new baby. We have come home!
The world that time and sense have known falls off and leaves us God alone. Apart no longer. The masks are gone for those who have been vaccinated. There is someone at the door to greet us as we enter the building. Our children are back. Hospitality continues outside, as weather allows, under a tent set up each week, with welcoming laughter and greetings by those who lend a hand to set up the tent, put out chairs, and prepare and serve coffee and refreshments. With the grace of a loving God, we have walked through the firestorm of COVID-19 and in small, measured steps found our way back home. And so we find it well to come once more for deeper rest to our still room.