Musings for the time before Lent: Mardi Gras & Fat Tuesday! Music, feasting and celebration.

Laissez les bons temps rouler. ‘Let the good times roll.’ — Unattributed

In the house of lovers the walls are made of songs, the floor dances and the music never stops. — Rumi

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Busy, they were, busy being original, complicated, changeable—human, I guess you’d say. — Toni Morrison, Jazz

Doing the work you’re best at doing and like to do best, hearing great music, having great fun, seeing something very beautiful, weeping at somebody else’s tragedy—all these experiences are related to the experience of salvation because in all of them two things happen: (1) you lose yourself, and (2) you find that you are more fully yourself than usual. — Frederick Buechner

Questions to consider:

  • What would you like to celebrate just before Lent? Will you indulge a bit too much, sip or chew one last time, or do something a while longer? Mardi Gras feasts come, in part, from using up the food items in a home and kitchen that would spoil, once religious observances began prior to Easter.
  • What forms of celebration give you the greatest connection to life-sustaining, exuberant emotions and experiences? Eating? Dancing? Music? Something else?
  • What do you do with overstock when you’re trying to spring clean and pare down, or simplify life?
  • During Lent, do you choose to give up something (abstain or fast in some way), give over something (relinquish control of something to a higher power), give to something (contribute time, attention, energy or resources to a specific cause or issue)? What is your spiritual practice, starting next Ash Wednesday?

Recipes for Mardi Gras

Music for Mardi Gras

Background on Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday

Brief explanation of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday as a time of celebration prior to Lent, as a time of festival and celebration, including the tradition of using up household oils and fats prior to a season of fasting and abstinence:

Shrove Tuesday (also known … as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day) is the day … immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.

This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve” … observed by many Christians … who “make a special point of self-examination …

As this is the last day of the liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one gives up for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

On Feasting & Mardi Gras Celebration

Fasting and feasting are universal human responses, and any meal, shared with love, can be an agape. — Elise M. Boulding

We don’t hide the crazy. We parade it down the street. — Unattributed

[The] dinner party is a true proclamation of the abundance of being — a rebuke to the thrifty little idolatries by which we lose sight of the lavish hand that made us. It is precisely because no one needs soup fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert at one meal that we so badly need to sit down to them from time to time. It was largesse that made us all; we were not created to fast forever. The unnecessary is the taproot of our being and the last key to the door of delight. Enter here, therefore, as a sovereign remedy for the narrowness of our minds and the stinginess of our souls, the formal dinner…the true convivium — the long Session that brings us nearly home. ― Robert Farrar Capon

… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection. ― E.A. Bucchianeri

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. — Chris Rose

The incarnation took all that properly belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed. All of our inclinations and appetites and capacities and yearnings are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ. He did not come to thin out human life; He came to set it free. All the dancing and feasting and processing and singing and building and sculpting and baking and merrymaking that belong to us, and that were stolen away into the service of false gods, are returned to us in the gospel. ― Thomas Howard

Feasting is also closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way in order to remember who we are. — Jeff Smith

Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast. — Melody Beattie

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go. — Unattributed

Mardi Gras is a state of mind. — Ed Muniz

This mask can’t hide my crazy. — Unattributed

Are you aware that your spirit needs to be fed? Did you know that your spirit would be delighted to partake in a feast of spiritual food? … prayer … maybe a few hours of succulent self-reflection? Perhaps a piping-hot selection … served by the side of a lake or under a tree, would satisfy your spiritual hunger. Can you imagine feasting for a few hours … uplifting music … some forgiveness … topped with compassion? — Iyanla Vanzant

Thoughts on Jazz

If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. ― Louis Armstrong

… like jazz … is one of those dazzling diamonds of creative industry that help human beings make sense out of the comedies and tragedies that contextualize our lives. ― Aberjhani

I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light. ― Miles Davis

To be a jazz freedom fighter is to attempt to galvanize and energize world-weary people into forms of organization with accountable leadership that promote critical exchange and broad reflection. The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group–a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project. This kind of critical and democratic sensibility flies in the face of any policing of borders and boundaries of “blackness”, “maleness”, “femaleness”, or “whiteness”. ― Cornel West

Jazz is not just ‘Well, man, this is what I feel like playing.’ It’s a very structured thing that comes down from a tradition and requires a lot of thought and study. ― Wynton Marsalis

There’s something beautifully friendly and elevating about … playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It’s really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it’s all for one purpose … for a while. And nobody conducting, it’s all up to you. It’s really jazz … that’s the big secret. Rock and roll ain’t nothing but jazz with a hard backbeat. ― Keith Richards

It was the music. The dirty, get-on-down music the women sang and the men played and both danced to, close and shamelesss or apart and wild … It made you do unwise disorderly things. Just hearing it was like violating the law. ― Toni Morrison

Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us–simpatico dudes that we are–while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time–while the other dudes hold onto the wire … jazz only works if we’re trying to be free and are, in fact, together. ― Dave Hickey

WED, Feb 19 – WED, Feb 26 — School vacation through Fri, Feb 21 —

WED, Feb 19

  • Schools closed
  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish House. 
    Fitness class. Free; open to public. Stretching and fitness workouts with certified fitness coach Laurie McAleer. Exercises can be adjusted to individual needs. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, class is cancelled.
  • COUNCIL MEETING
    7pm • JCC Elected church officers, staff, and team representatives meet to reviews church mission and decisions for governance and operations. Open to all.

THURS, Feb 20

  • Schools closed
  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    9am & 5pm • 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Friends, members & staff of Jackson Community Church are among volunteers to staff these shifts. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, Way Station is closed.
  • YIN RESTORATIVE YOGA for the Mindful Body with Anjali Rose 9am • Jackson Community Church
    Note: 6 weeks $60. Contact Anjali Rose for more info. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, yoga is cancelled.
  • Community Event: TODDLER STORYTIME
    10:30am • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: EVENING CRAFT-UP
    4pm • Jackson Public Library
    Bring an existing craft to do with neighbors at the library!
  • AA
    6:30pm • Jackson Community Church, 2nd Floor

FRI, Feb 21

  • Schools closed
  • PASTOR’S DROP-IN J-TOWN DELI HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk or meet privately by texting/calling Rev Gail’s cell @ 978.273.0308.
  • Private Class: AVALANCHE CLASS
    8:30am-5pm • Jackson Community Church
    Class for back-country winter skiers and hikers to prepare for survival and response to avalanche conditions.
  • Community Event: SEWING with KATHY
    2pm • Jackson Library
    Special vacation week edition of sewing sweet things with Kathy! Make your own lovebug or lovegrub. Please sign up online or phone library at 603-383-9731 so they have materials prepared.

SAT, Feb 22

  • NHCUCC Event: PREPARED to SERVE
    8am-4pm • Pembroke, NH
    Workshops and training for church programs. Rev Gail attends afternoon sessions.

SUN, Feb 23

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Old Red Library
    Come for poetry, prayer and conversation.
  • BLESSINGS of BODIES, BOOTS & BINDINGS
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Center
    Rev Gail provides blessings for staff and XC skiers.
  • POP-UP CHOIR
    10:10am • Jackson Community Church
    Come learn songs early and help as song leaders for congregation.
  • SUNDAY WORSHIP
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
    * Message: Rev Gail Doktor
    * Music director & instrumentalist: Alan Labrie
  • CUTTING PARTY for MARDI GRAS
    11:45am • Jackson Community Church
    Bring your apron, favorite chopping knife, paring knife, cutting board. Chef Sue will direct our efforts!
  • Community Event: RACIAL JUSTICE CONVERSATIONS
    3:30pm • Jackson Public Library
    Third of 6-part series to hold conversations on racial justice and how our community can become more self-aware and active around this issue. Joint program sponsored by Jackson Public Library & Jackson Community Church. If you haven’t already joined us and want to attend,  RSVP to learn what we covered in the earlier sessions and feel free to join us for as many conversations as possible! Free and open to public.
  • Community Event: CONCERT with Dominique Dodge and Rosie MacKenzie
    5pm • Jackson Library

MON, Feb 24

  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    9am • 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Friends, members & staff of Jackson Community Church are among volunteers to staff these shifts.
  • COOKING for MARDI GRAS
    9am-Noon • Jackson Community Church
    Bring your apron, favorite chopping knife, paring knife, cutting board. Chef Sue will direct our efforts!
  • BARTLETT-JACKSON SCOUT PACK 321
    6pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meet for pack and troop activities. Contact pack organizer Allyn Roberts for additional information.

TUE, Feb 25 – FAT TUESDAY!

  • CLERGY LUNCH
    12:30pm • Brown Church
    Clergy gathering to plan ecumenical services. Rev Gail attends.
  • Community Event: CRAFTERNOON
    Noon • Jackson Public Library
    Bring an unfinished craft to the library and work with others while you visit, too.
  • No more meetings in Feb for the Multi-Church BIBLE STUDY GROUP
    Resumes in Lent, beginning Tue, Mar 3rd.
  • FAT TUESDAY PREP COOKING & DECORATING
    Noon-6pm • Jackson Community Church
  • DAISY SCOUT TROOP HELPS with MARDI GRAS
    Afternoon • Jackson Community Church
  • FAT TUESDAY CELEBRATION
    6-8pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come for jazz music with KHS Jazz Ensemble & Slimpikcins! Enjoy Mardi Gras cuisine and costumes. Come dressed up!
  • Community Concert: JAZZ with HEATHER PIERSON TRIO
    8pm • Stone Mountain Arts Center, Denmark, ME
    Tickets and info.

WED, Feb 26 – ASH WEDNESDAY

  • ASHES to GO
    7-9am • JTown Deli
  • ASHES to GO
    10:30am-12:30pm • Jackson Community Church
  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish House. 
    Fitness class. Free; open to public. Stretching and fitness workouts with certified fitness coach Laurie McAleer. Exercises can be adjusted to individual needs. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, class is cancelled.
  • Community Event: ECUMENICAL ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE
    5:30pm – Choir Practice • Brown Church, Conway Village
    6:30pm – Worship Service • Brown Church, Conway VillageClergy of the Eastern Slope invite friends and members to attend a jointly-run services hosted at the Brown Church. Rev Gail officates along with colleagues. All welcome!

This Week: WED, Feb 20 – SUN, Feb 24

THIS WEEK
at Jackson Community Church and Around Town

WED, Feb 20

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. These classes will continue through the end of February, then the instructor will re-evaluate whether she can continue into March. Classes remain weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • PROTESTANT CHAPEL ASSOCIATION MEETING
    4pm • Parish House / Church Library, Second Floor.
  • COUNCIL MEETING
    7pm • Parish House / Church Library, Second Floor.
    Open meeting of church staff, officers and team leaders to make governing decisions for the operations and mission of the church. Any friends or members welcome to attend.

THURS, Feb 21 

  • FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Feb 22

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for caffeine, conversation. Or make a separate date to meet with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • PASTOR’s OFFICE HOURS
    9:30-11:30am • Church. Drop by or make an appointment to meet with Rev Gail by texting or calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or by email.
  • Community Event: GUIDED SNOW SHOE TOURS
    10am & 1pm • Start from Jackson XC Ski Touring Center
    $15 includes ticket and tour; rental equipment available. Tours are approx. 90 minutes. More info.

SAT, Feb 23

  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responders for avalanche preparedness and response.
  • Community Event: GUIDED SNOW SHOE TOURS
    10am & 1pm • Start from Jackson XC Ski Touring Center. $15 includes ticket and tour; rental equipment available. Tours are approx. 90 minutes. More info.
  • Community Event: FAMILY SNOW SHOE TOUR
    10am -Noon. Meet at the Dr. Michael Cline Memorial Forest parking area on Bald Hill Rd, Tin Mountain Conservation Center.
    Who’s been here? Was it a fox, a bobcat, or even a fisher? Learn the four basic mammal track patterns and enjoy the morning outside on Tin Mountain’s new Bald Hill property. Families of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Dress warm and bring snowshoes or borrow ours. Call 447-6991 for reservations. More info.
  • United Church of Christ Event: PREPARED to SERVE8am – 8:45 am Registration and Refreshments / 9am – 4pm Workshop • Pembroke Academy,
    209 Academy Road, Pembroke, NH
    Walk-in registration welcome. Download the event brochure to get a preview of this year’s workshop selections. The church will reimburse the registration fee for this event for anyone from our community who wishes to attend! Rev Gail will be attending. Full schedule includes time for worship, attending workshops, viewing exhibits, and enjoying food and fellowship with folks from all over New Hampshire. Over 50 different workshops offered on a variety of topics. 

SUN, Feb 24

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • BLESSING of BODIES, BOOTS & BINDINGS
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Foundation
    Rev Gail offers blessings to staff, volunteers and skiers.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie
  • Community Event: BIZARRE BIRDS
    7pm • Jackson Public Library
    An exciting nature program “Bizarre Birds of the World” with Steve Hale, owner of Open World Explorers. With over 10,000 bird species in the world, there are some amazing featured creatures that stretch our understanding of what it means to be a bird. This entertaining and educational program features extreme examples of birds and bird biology.  Some of the special birds included in this program are the Hoatzin, Kakapo, Oilbird, Standard Wing Nightjar, and more. For more details, visit www.openworldexplorers.com. This lecture is free and open to the public, although a $5 donation is welcome. For more information, please contact the Jackson Public Library at 603-383-9731.

SAVE THESE DATES

WAY STATION WORK DAY
SAT, MAR 2
9am – 4pm
Nativity Lutheran Church

Come help paint and prep more rooms at Nativity Lutheran Church in order to welcome guests of the Way Station, a day resource center to provide essential services to the valley’s homeless and housing insecure population, including showers, laundry, internet access, post office box, lockers and more. Wear old clothing, supplies and paint will be provided! Staff and members of our church are serving as some of the motivating people behind the startup and opening of this new organization! Staff and members of our church are helping kick-start this initiative. 

FAT TUESDAY &
MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION
Tue, Mar 5 • 6-8:30pm

  • Authentic New Orleans recipes (buffet style)
  • Warm-up music by  KHS student jazz ensemble
  • Featured music: live jazz with Heather Pierson’s trio!
  • Come for food & fun & music!
  • Dance and dine with friends!
  • Wear some bling, but we’ll have plenty of fun beads and costumes to share!
  • Suggested donation $5/pp or $10/family.

ASH WEDNESDAY
Wed, Mar 6

  • ASHES to GO
     7-9am @ JTown Deli & Noon-5pm / Church
  • ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE
    Ecumenical Observance facilitated by Clergy of the Eastern Slope
    6:30pm • Center Conway Methodist Church

Youth & Activities: Highlights for February

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

FRI, FEB 2

  • YOUTH DINNER & GAMES
    6pm • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church
    Ipswich, MA Middle School youth group will hold a weekend retreat at the church. Our youth and families are welcome to come for a community meal and games on Friday.

SAT, FEB 3

  • IPSWICH YOUTH OUTING
    8am – Noon • Jackson XC Center
  • LUNCH
    12:30-2pm • Parish Hall, JCC
  • IPSWICH YOUTH OUTING
    2-5 • Black Mountain. Ipswich Middle Our youth are welcome to get outside with the Ipswich youth. who will be downhill skiing in the afternoon.
  • DINNER & GAMES & PRAYERS
    6:30pm • Parish Hall, JCC
    Ipswich Middle School youth group makes dinner and holds worship. Our youth and families are welcome to come for meal, games, and worship on Saturday evening.

SUN, FEB 4

  • SUPERBOWL BRUNCH CHURCH
     

    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
    Bring a potluck breakfast/brunch/lunch item to share. We will start in the sanctuary, but spend most of our time in Parish Hall around tables for a community-style meal that also serves as our communion. Conversations at table focused on scriptures about athleticism, competition, victory and defeat, strength and resilience. Fun and family-friendly! Great way to kick off Superbowl Sunday!

MON, FEB 5

  • MANDALA MONDAY
    7pm • Church Library, Second Floor
    Exploring expressive arts as a spiritual practice through contemplative coloring, drawing from different wisdom traditions. Church provides patterns and colored pencils. Older children, youth and families welcome.

TUE, FEB 6

  • MARDI GRAS
    6-8pm • Parish Hall

    Food and music by KHS jazz ensemble and Miss Maybelle & Slimpickins. Take a selfie with our beads and costumes, or come decked out and ready to dance (and socialize). Family-friendly. Donations gratefully accepted.

SAT, FEB 10

  • TRILLIUM SUMMIT
    8:30am-5pm • Whitney Center

    Trillium Summit, a one-day conference for girls and women. Admission is free and any money raised from donations will be given to Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.  The idea behind this is to bring together girls and women from the Valley for a day of crafts, snacks, games, speakers, networking and fun.  We have an awesome roster of local leaders who are very excited to share their wisdom.  Topics covered will include:
    •  Why You?  Why Now? The Importance of Getting to Know Yourself
    • How to Find and Fulfill Your Wishes
    • There is No One Path to Success (adult panel discussion)
    • Putting Your Best Foot Forward/Creating Your Own Brand
    • Choose Your Own Adventure (on Boundaries and Being an Upstander)
    • We’re More Alike Than You’d Think – A Basket of Questions (youth panel discussion)
    • Tried and True Tips for Taking this to Tomorrow
    Registration is open and we are asking all our supporters to please pass the word. You can sign up at Eventbrite. We also have a Facebook page where we will try to post updates. Questions? Reach out to Lauren Orsini at laurenvorsini@gmail.com or at jess.dellavalla@gmail.com.
    HOPE on the SLOPES
    Sunday, Feb 11 @ Mt Cranmore


    41st Anniversary of the Race to Beat Cancer (Hope on the Slopes)
    To benefit the American Cancer Society. It’s time of year to start thinking about Hope On The Slopes – The American Cancer Society’s Race to Beat Cancer! You can get involved in many ways. Our church sponsors this team, including sponsorships for our athletes and providing volunteers.
    • You can participate as a skier or snowboarder. If you participate to race, the Mission Committee will sponsor you $25 towards your fundraising efforts. For more information go to http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=85419
    • You can serve as a volunteer for the event.
    PREPARED to SERVE
    Sat, Feb 24 • 8am-4pm

    Youth invited to attend!
    Workshops on environmental and social justice issues, as well as program development for youth and families. Rev Gail will be traveling to this conference and can provide same-day ride for 1-2 people. Jackson Community Church will cover cost of registration.

Meditation: Of birds & lilies — being present today

letting go of worries
Oh soul, you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”
— Jalaluddin Rumi

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. — Corrie ten Boom from Clippings from My Notebook

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let Birds (excepts) — Linda Gregg.
Eight deer on the slope …
The night sky blue …
I will never give up longing …
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join …
Let winter impress you. Let spring …
Let birds.

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.
Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.
Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life. — Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t worry if you’re making waves simply by being yourself. The moon does it all the time. – Scott Stabile

Even if you have three or four extra syllables, or even five or seven, you needn’t worry as long as it sounds right. But if even one syllable is stale in your mouth, give it all of your attention.  – Basho

Leda, After the Swan (excerpts) — Carl Phillips
Perhaps, in the exaggerated grace of his weight settling,
the wings raised, held in strike-or-embrace position
… whose feathers came away in my hands,
and the bit of world left beyond it, coming down
to the heat-crippled field,
ravens the precise color of sorrow in good light,
neither black nor blue, like fallen stitches upon it,
and the hour forever, it seemed, half-stepping its way elsewhere–
then everything, I remember, began happening more quickly.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. — Maya Angelou

Jesus no longer belongs to the past but lives in the present … the everlasting “today” of God. … How often does Love have to tell us, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness … and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! —  Pope Francis from The Church of Mercy

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