Letters from Church of theWoods

Reverend Stephen Blackmer’s writings from the poustinia

We’re living in in a threshold time, in exile from our “normal” lives.

One reality is falling away, and we don’t know what will take its place. Whatever happens, the world will be changed, and we will be changed.

During this time when the pandemic is expected to crest, Rev. Stephen Blackmer, priest at Church of the Woods in Canterbury, NH, is stepping away literally, into a life of greater solitude and prayer. Follow him here, as he reports from his “poustinia” in the woods. 

Morning Greetings

Morning Greetings

Early in the morning, I walk in the forest, exchanging greetings with the woods creatures. The birds, of course, sing their good mornings. Wood thrush and hermit thrush, sapsucker and downy woodpecker, titmouse and chickadee all sing hello, in words I know well....

Gratitude & Grief

Gratitude & Grief

My head is all in a muddle this week, not knowing which way to turn. My heart is filled to overflowing, but I can’t tell from moment to moment whether it is filled with joy or sadness, gratitude or grief. On Saturday, we had a howling snowstorm. Today I am gazing at...

What Holds You?

What Holds You?

The usual props of daily life have fallen away. Routines are disrupted, or exploded into bits. Not only the outward structures of work, travel, shopping, exercise, meals, and family that provide a container for regular life, but our inner structures, too, have been...

Earth Day

Earth Day

Fifty years ago today, as a freshman in high school, I walked the streets of Lexington, Massachusetts, with a parade of others, picking up trash. It was the first Earth Day, a joyful celebration of the beauty of the world, and a pledge to clean it up. It was such a...

One Body

One Body

Dear Friends, I am on the other side, now, but the passage through Holy Week, in my solitude, was intense. The up/down/way down/way way up emotional and spiritual journey of Jesus possessed me. From his palm-strewn parade into Jerusalem to hanging on a cross to die,...

A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness

Easter Sunday O Divine Light, in the darkness of this hour we watch and we waitas you shed your brightness once again upon a frightened and hurting world. We pray that by your Light, new light is kindled in our hearts that we may become beacons of your Love and...

Hold the Emptiness

Hold the Emptiness

For the past several days, as I have been walking at Church of the Woods, my eyes and feet have been guided toward nothing. More precisely, I have been drawn to holes. To dark pools, to hollows, to empty places where nothing seems present. In this, I think, I am being...

Pockets of Love

Pockets of Love

I pray this morning in the holy juxtaposition of life and death. Before the sun was up, I heard the knockety, knockety, knockety of a yellow-bellied sapsucker banging on a beech tree — a call for Love, the fount of all Life. A few moments later, I was reading about...

Renewing the Face of the Earth

Renewing the Face of the Earth

When this land came into our hands, in 2012, it was a holy mess. My friends, Mark and Jenny, had brought me here seven years earlier in hopes of recruiting a neighbor of like heart and mind. We walked across the meandering stream and up a rocky knoll, entering what...

Without a Path

Without a Path

I walked in a part of the woods, this morning, that does not yet have a path. It will one day, I know,  possibly quite soon. But today, there is no path and I have only hints as to which way to go.  The journey into God is like this. Occasionally, the way is clear....

Prayer Requests

In a time of uncertainty and suffering, we are invited to offer our fear, grief, and hope to the Great Mystery.

As Steve prays in silence and solitude, he is holding the Earth & its people in prayer.

Send your prayers to sdblackmer@kairosearth.org

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