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Pay Attention

Dear Cathedral Family,

November’s full moon was spectacular. The “Beaver Moon,” it is called, appearing during the time of year beavers are preparing for winter. This year’s Beaver Moon was especially significant, as November 19 saw the longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years, with the moon at one point turning a deep red. I hope that you were able to see at least some part of this awe-inspiring celestial event.

Nature’s rhythms and cycles have so much to tell us, if we pay attention. But the urgent demands of life and work, not to mention all the available distractions of technology and entertainment, make it difficult for us to pay close attention to the natural world we live in. You may have heard the phrase “tyranny of the urgent,” referring to the constant tension in life between things that are urgent and things that are important. Our physical and spiritual connection to the deeper rhythms of creation, to all of life in God, is vitally important. But there’s always a text or a post to respond to, one more email to reply to or send. And before you know it, a once-in-a-millennium experience has passed.

Jesus speaks in this week’s gospel about reading the signs of the times in nature and in the world, and he cautions his followers to keep alert and not be distracted by the worries of life (or the active avoidance of these)—to pay attention. His teaching comes to us as we begin the season of Advent, a period of anticipation and attentive waiting for signs of life, light in the darkness.

One hopeful sign of late has been the improvement in local Covid-19 conditions, along with the increasing availability of vaccines for children above a certain age. In its meeting this past Sunday, your Vestry acknowledged this new reality and agreed that our community’s protocols should now look somewhat different. Masks are appropriate for those among us at or close to special risk: the unvaccinated, those with compromised immune systems and their caregivers, ensemble singers in close proximity to each other, nursery workers dealing with small children. The rest of us, for now, enjoy the relative freedom of worship and fellowship mask-free.

As always, I am thankful for your good care for one another and for your faithfulness in our shared life. I pray that you will all have a blessed and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. And “War Eagle,” or “Roll Tide”!




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