I hope this letter finds you safe, and staying connected to those you care for and those that share this walk of life with you in what has now become a year of dealing with this pandemic.
Unlike last year when we had a few weeks before the first lock down that changed everything, this year we enter the season of Lent, having done our best to adapt to so many changes. Those changes will still affect how we do things in the church. We won’t be having our Wednesday night Lenten services as we stay vigilant about gatherings and risks.
Holy Week will be different than it has been for many years. Last year we were not able to do any indoor services at that time. So we are now very blessed to be able to do so this year! We will have our beautiful Good Friday service, and our Easter Sunday service. For both we will be safe guarding our parishioners by maintaining all of our established Covid procedures.
Even though we won’t be doing our weekly Wednesday evening gatherings which many of us hold so dear in our Lenten journey, there is something very special I am hoping will be part of each of our Lenten walks. A project that has so much soul and compassion.
Many of you may know the story of Sadako. She was a young Japanese girl who, because of radiation exposure after the bombing of Hiroshima and World War II, ended up with cancer. In Japanese folklore there is a story about making 1000 paper cranes and for doing so being given one wish. And of course the Sadako’s wish was to be well again.
In the many decades that have passed since that time, the One Thousand Cranes Project has happened countless times around the world. Sometimes it is done in the name of peace. Sometimes it is done in the name of hope, for a community that has been devastated or struggles. Sometimes it is done as a project of solidarity for cancer patients. Sometimes it is done by just one person, who wishes healing for a loved one.
We are hoping everyone will take a little time once a week, each week in Lent, and learn how to make paper cranes, or origami cranes. It would be pretty amazing if we ended up with 1000! But really the number does not matter. 100 carries the same sense of prayerfulness, and compassionate intention.
It seems like a very appropriate thing to do, in the midst of a global pandemic where there are so many people who are suffering due to the impact on their mental, physical, spiritual, financial, and emotional well-being. There is loneliness and isolation. There is a daily struggle, anxiety and depression. There is separation. There is fear. And if ever there was a time, in recent times, when healing is needed, it is now.
And of course on top of all that, are all of the things many of us always hold close to our hearts. The people we love who are struggling. Many, many places around the world where there is disparity, poverty, and injustice. The entire world, the actual planet earth that sustains us for every breath we take, every step, every moment. Creation sustaining life. And yet creation under imminent threat.
There is certainly no shortage of the need for healing in our personal lives and in our world. For those of you who do engage in the one thousand cranes project with us, whether during that time when we are sitting at the kitchen table or perhaps in a favourite chair, trying to figure out how to make a paper crane we’ve googled, or a “how to” video on YouTube, or went to the library for an origami book, or may come to church to learn how … let that time of creating be a time of mindfulness and prayerfulness for healing in our lives and in the world.
On Easter Sunday we will gather all of our paper cranes, no matter what the number may be, and dedicate them as a prayer for healing. Then after a time, we will take those cranes to our friends, family, neighbours, the hospital, or maybe mail them to someplace in the world where healing is needed.
I hope each of us will take some holy time throughout Lent this year, to focus on healing in this way.
We hope you will join us, in the One Thousand Paper Cranes for healing, and on Sundays at 10:30 am through Lent, and then on Good Friday at 10 am, and Easter Sunday at 10:30 am to be surrounded by God and to pray, heal, and love as our holy journey to Easter.
The Rev’d Mark Pretty