Monday, November 21, 2005

Lynette is in Mexico with her family this week. We hope that she is recharging and relaxing, absorbing every second with her precious daughters and husband. We felt that Rev. Janet Campbell's words were so beautiful when she spoke at the Soulumination Collection Opening. We wanted to share them.

Remarks by
The Rev. Janet Campbell, Director of Liturgy and the Arts,
Saint Mark’s Cathedral
Sunday, October 30, 2005

I’ve eagerly awaited this day
since I first saw a newspaper article
about the compassionate ministry of Lynette Johnson
months and months ago.

Hers is exactly the kind of work
for which
the Arts at Saint Mark’s
seeks to provide a public forum –

art that opens a window for us
into the sacred mysteries of
what it means to be human beings,
children of God,
living and loving in this world.

Lynette and these children
and their families
have much to reveal to us
about birth,
and life,
and death,
and love,
and the very ephemeral nature
of our being.

It is appropriate that
these children
have come to dwell
in this sacred space
this November.

As the natural world around us
flames forth with Autumn’s glory
only to die
into the quiet grays and browns of winter,
the worship of the Christian community
brings us face to face
with the last things –
our mortality,
the fragility, the uncertainty of life,
the inevitability of death,
early or late,
and the certainty of God’s love for us,
and our love for one another,
through God’s mercy,
transcends this life.

November begins with
All Saints Day,
when we remember the Saints with a capital “S”
whose ways of following Jesus Christ
we celebrate
and seek to imitate in our own lives . . .

and All Souls Day,
when we remember the saints with a small “s”,
the ordinary, everyday saints
from our own lives,
whom we celebrate and love and
whose passing we grieve.

In November,
we build an altar of remembrance
in our worship space,
and adorn it with the faces
of the Capital “S” and the small “s” saints.

This November,
these children and their families,
our sisters and brothers in God’s love,
saints with a small “s,”
have come among us,
our guests,
to share with us
the secrets they have learned
through the joys and sorrows they have known.
knowing all this,
I couldn’t have guessed the impact
on my heart
of these faces,
these children,
when I walked into the cathedral
early this morning
and saw them for the first time.

Each child –
some already gathered into the heart of God –
all speaking to us
of the infinite value of every life
in God’s eyes.

“Children search the eyes of grownups,”
author and educator Jonathan Kozol
said this morning
in his sermon.

I found my eyes being searched
by the eyes of these children
as I made the acquaintance of each one this morning.

“I am who I am,”
each seemed to say,
“a mystery and a miracle of human creation
and God’s imagination.”

Lynette Johnson
has braved our fear of death
and entered into a sorrow that didn’t have to be her own,
in order to honor these children,
and give to their families and now to us
the gift of joy in their very being.

She and these children
and their families
invite us to brave our own fears
and rejoice in the gift of life
and the strength, the endurance
of love.

Welcome, Lynette.
Welcome, dear children
and mothers and fathers,
sisters and brothers.

And thank you!