Minister's Post, Fri Sep 24

Dear Ones,

To all of you who came out for the afternoon service on Sun Sep 19 or Sun Sep 12, or both: thanks so much for your presence. It was great to see you all!

The weather should be nice for Sun Sep 26 afternoon, too. I hope to see you there!

And please do sign up for a Journey Group. Sign up here:


ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

The Sep 19 worship service, "What Family Is," is here:

See our channel for many other past services HERE.

Covid Review

The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.

New Cases
Average New Cases per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Apr 23-29): 828,577
Lowest since peak (Jun 15-21): 360,855
Highest since the June low (Aug 24-30): 659,602
Four weeks ago (Aug 20-26): 658,277
Last week (Sep 10-16): 540,160
This week (Sep 17-23): 491,630

Average New Cases per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 5-11): 255,831
Lowest since peak: (Jun 15-21): 11,956
Highest since the June low (Aug 27 - Sep 2): 167,080
Four weeks ago (Aug 20-26): 157,144
Last week (Sep 10-16): 151,896
This week (Sep 17-23): 125,618

Average New Cases per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Mar 23-29): 949
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Aug 19-25): 29
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 6-12): 861
Lowest week of 2021 (Jun 17-23): 11
Highest since Jun low (Aug 15-21): 212
Four weeks ago (Aug 20-26): 187
Last week (Sep 10-16): 182
This week (Sep 17-23): 154

Average Deaths per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Jan 20-26): 14,807
Lowest since peak (Jun 29 - Jul 5): 7,694
Highest since the July low (Aug 20-26): 10,228
Four weeks ago (Aug 20-26): 10,228
Last week (Sep 10-16): 8,846
This week (Sep 17-23): 7,919

Average Deaths per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 7-13): 3,514
Lowest since peak (Jul 1-7): 248
Highest since the July low (Sep 9-15): 1,810
Last week (Sep 10-16): 1,783
This week (Sep 17-23): 1,700

Average Deaths per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Apr 9-15): 52
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Sep 27 - Oct 3): 0.0
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): 11
Lowest week of 2021 (Jul 21-27): 0.0
Highest since the July low (Sep 10-16): 1.3
This week (Sep 17-23): 0.3

Worldwide, new cases have been declining since Aug 30, and are now down 25% since Aug 30. Deaths reached a summertime peak on Aug 25, and are now down 23% since the summer peak.

In the US, new cases declined by 11% from Sep 2 to Sep 10. After a period of increase from Sep 10 - 15, new cases have been falling and are now down 25% from the Sep 2 level -- the lowest they've been since Aug 11. Deaths: For the week of Sep 9-15, average deaths per day were 1,809 -- the highest weekly number since last Feb 26 - Mar 4. Since then, however, the death rate has been inching down: it's now down 6% from Sep 15.

The US vaccination continues to slowly climb at slightly better than 1 percentage point every 10 days. The percent fully vaccinated is up to 55.6 (Sep 23) -- from 52.1% a month ago (Aug 23), and 49.5% two months ago (Jul 23). Meanwhile, the Westchester County fully-vaccinated rate is now 67.2% -- up from 63.8% on Aug 23, and 61.1% on Jul 23.

The news this week is relatively good. Whether the downward movement of the last week will continue, however, is highly unpredictable. Be careful out there!

Practice of the Week

Study Spiritual Texts.

Two week’s ago, the suggested practice was: choose your practice. Almost any activity can a spiritual practice IF you do it mindfully, you do it with intention to cultivate spiritual development, and you establish a foundation of spiritual orientation.

Establishing a spiritual foundation is a three-legged stool: journaling, study, and stillness. This week's practice suggestion is: begin daily study of spiritual texts. Take a few minutes a day for reading wisdom literature. Here are a few suggestions:
Dao De Jing,
Bhagavad Gita
Psalms (Hebrew Bible)
Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First and Second Series
Stephen Levine, A Gradual Awakening
Ram Dass, Be Here Now
Jaris Jay Masters, Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
Chogyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Henry David Thoreau, Collected Essays and Poems
St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul
Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi
Sharon Salzberg, A Heart as Wide as the World
Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step
Jon Kabat Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are
Howard Cutler and Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
Julian of Norwich, Showings
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
Carlos Castenada, The Teachings of Don Juan
Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
Dalai Lama, An Open Heart
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess
Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart
The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man
Kazuaki Tanahashi (ed. and trans.), Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
With journaling, study, and stillness, you establish a foundation to support some other activity – gardening, hiking, or playing music, say, as your primary spiritual practice.

See the full post: “Study Spiritual Texts.”


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