Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-15

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Friday 15 May 2020
Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois 

Dear Friends,
Last week, I spoke on the phone with an avid bird watcher. We were speaking about serious things, church business. He interrupted me when a heron landed in his marsh. 
Our serious talk was punctuated by his oohs and aahs when a new bird landed. When the heron walked into this yard, he whispered for me to hush. He needed to take in the scene without my talking. 
The next day I got an email. For the first time ever a Baltimore Oriole visited his back hard. 
This small miracle opens him to ten thousand more that heretofore he had missed, too dull-headed or busy to notice—other birds, angel wing, creation’s song rising above the sound of distant traffic.
May he be filled with wonder. May all sentences forever be interrupted by oohs and ahhs. 
I’ll ‘see’ you on Sunday.
Expect a miracle.
Turn on your “device” and find us at:   FirstPres.Live
Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.
         Be amazed.
                  Tell somebody.
Matt Matthews
* * *
New fun photo challenge! Each Friday the Nurture Committee is challenging us to read an assigned scripture about Jesus and come up with a representation of the story using whatever you already have around the house and share it in photo form.

LAST SUPPER – Matthew 26:20-30
But some of the people did not like God’s Son
And started a plan to get rid of the One
So Jesus gathered his friends for a Passover meal
And shared what would happen, it seemed so unreal
During the supper Jesus explained that he would die and rise again, but the disciples did not understand his words. It was here that Jesus first described communion the bread representing his body and the wine representing his blood. After this he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before the soldiers came to arrest him.
Recreate a scene from the Last Supper and take a photo of it. This could be as simple as bread and juice.
Post your photo to:
 For Instagram @fpcchampaign


This poem suggested by Mary Jane Kelley. (Keep your poems coming.)

Washing the Elephant

Isn’t it always the heart that wants to wash
the elephant, begging the body to do it
with soap and water, a ladder, hands,
in tree-shade big enough for the vast savannahs
of your sadness, the strangler fig of your guilt,
the cratered full moon’s light fueling
the windy spooling memory of elephant?
What if Father Quinn had said, “Of course you’ll recognize
your parents in heaven,” instead of
“Being one with God will make your mother and father
pointless.” That was back when I was young enough
to love them absolutely though still fear for their place
in heaven, imagining their souls like sponges full
of something resembling street water after rain.
Still my mother sent me every Saturday to confess,
to wring the sins out of my small baffled soul, and I made up lies
about lying, disobeying, chewing gum in church, to offer them
as carefully as I handed over the knotted handkercheif of coins
to the grocer when my mother sent me for a loaf of Wonder,
Land O’Lakes, and two Camels.
If guilt is the damage of childhood, then eros is the fall of adolescence.
Of the fall begins there, and never ends, desire after desire parading
through a lifetime like the Ringling Brothers elephants
made to walk through the Queens-Midtown Tuunnel
and down 34th Street to the Garden.
So much of our desire like their bulky, shadowy walking
after midnight, exiled from the wild and destined
for a circus with its tawdry gaudiness, its unspoken
It takes more than half a century to figure out who they were,
the few real loves-of-your-life and how much of the rest—
the mad breaking-heart stickiness—falls away, slowly,
unnoticed, the way you lose your taste for things
like Popsicles unthinkingly.
And though dailiness may have no place
for the ones that have etched themselves in the laugh lines
and frown lines on the face that’s harder and harder
to claim as your own, often one love-of-your-life
will appear in a dream, arriving
with the weight and certitude of an elephant,
and it’s always the heart that wants to go out and wash
the huge mysteriousness of what they meant, those memories
that have only memories to feed them, and only you to keep them clean.  
Barbara Ras, “Washing the Elephant” from The Last Skin.  Copyright © 2010 by Barbara Ras.