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April 10 Minister's Message

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” -- Psalm 8 


Somebody handed me the magic glasses in the parking lot, and there I stood mesmerized. We weren't directly in the path of the solar eclipse, but there it was, an alignment at once beautiful and hopeful though I can't say why.


The partial eclipse under clear blue skies here in Florida would have been invisible to the ancient ones. The Ais peoples populated this area as early as 2,000 B.C. and endured until the late 17th century, making it likely that they did experience several total eclipses over the centuries. What questions might they have raised to the gods as the tropical sky blackened the midday sun?


By the 1700’s the first snowbirds arrived, not from New England or the mid-Atlantic coast, but from Alabama and Georgia. The Creek native Americans, later called the Seminole, would also have experienced celestial wonderments, without benefit of the magic glasses sold to tourists today.


As we approach our 100 year celebration of God’s story in Vero Beach, perhaps the celestial rhythm reminds us that we’re babies on this earth, 100 years but a heartbeat in time. This past week we spent an evening with Dr. Miroslav Volf considering essential questions about what it means to be a successful human for however many moments we’re given around the sun.


As we look towards our next century as thriving humans, we ask these questions of our ourselves and our communities of faith practice? Why are we here? What is worth wanting? For what do we hope? Such questions point us beyond differences of opinion or how we may vote. They unite us as humanity who share common desires for life.


If it seems baffling that we spend our days striving against one another rather than looking up, our human struggles are no accident. Not everyone wants to explore questions of mutual concern. Some people find no pleasure in discovering common ground. Fighting and squabbling are so juicy, after all. Being right feels like honey on a biscuit. Some humans actually enjoy playing “let’s you and me fight”.


Such friction between us seems like such a colossal waste of time and energy. Can’t you think of ten things you’d rather do, that would bring you greater pleasure?


I hope to still be around the next time a total eclipse takes place wherever I live. And though I can’t know what life will be like then, I anticipate that I’ll be standing somewhere passing those tourist glasses back and forth, care-less about our differences otherwise, united in a moment of shared wonder as the moon slips in front of the sun.


God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,


Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida



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