Minister's Post, Fri Dec 17

Dear Ones,

When Scrooge meets Marley's ghost early on in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Scrooge asks him: "Why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

Marley's ghost replies, "It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world."

The moral is clear: we must "walk abroad" among each other. We must "go forth" with our lives and not hole up by our lonesomes. With this one brief lifespan we are given, we must become who we are -- which is a collaborative project of taking our shape through the interactions with others -- the giving to and receiving from other people.

So go forth, good people! Go forth in good cheer.

Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Dec 12 worship service, "Blessing":

You can read the text HERE.


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): 828,613
Lowest since peak (Jun 15-21): 361,003
Highest since the June low (Aug 24-30): 660,604
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 588,920
Last week (Dec 3-9): 620,313
This week (Dec 10-16): 626,425*
*Since Oct 17, new cases per day have increased 56% (an average increase of 0.7% per day for 60 days). However, for the last 8 days (Dec 8-16), new cases per day have been essentially flat.

Average New Cases per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 5-11): 256,107
Lowest since peak: (Jun 15-21): 11,981
Highest since the June low (Aug 27 - Sep 2): 167,598
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 96,659
Last week (Dec 3-9): 119,582
This week (Dec 10-16): 121,585*
*Since Nov 3, new cases per day have increased 71% (an average increase of 1.3% per day for 43 days). However, for the last 10 days (Dec 6-16), new cases per day have been essentially flat.

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
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 199
Last week (Dec 3-9): 335
This week (Dec 10-16): 474*
*New cases per day (as a moving 7-day average) are now more than 7 times what they were on Oct 24 (an average increase of 3.8% per day for 53 days).

Average Deaths per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Jan 21-27): 14,818
Lowest since peak (Jun 29 - Jul 5): 7,694
Highest since the July low (Aug 19-25): 10,313
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 7,108
Last week (Dec 3-9): 7,224
This week (Dec 10-16): 6,902*
*For the last 72 days (Oct 5 - Dec 16), the 7-day average of deaths per day has fluctuated between 6,664 and 7,307 per day.

Average Deaths per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 10-16): 3,553
Lowest since peak (Jun 30 - Jul 6): 244
Highest since the July low (Sep 17-23): 2,008
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 1,027
Last week (Dec 3-9): 1,230
This week (Dec 10-16): 1,170*
*Since Dec 7, deaths per day have decreased 9.6% (an average decrease of 1.1% per day for 9 days)

TOTAL Deaths per WEEK, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Apr 9-15): 365
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Sep 27 - Oct 3): 0
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): 74
Lowest weeks of 2021 (Jun 16-22; Jun 28-Jul 14; Jul 18-27, Oct 6-19, and Nov 15-27): 0
Highest since May 22 (Sep 10-16): 9
Two weeks ago (Nov 26-Dec 2): 2
Last week (Dec 3-9): 3
This week (Dec 10-16): 8

While the climb in new cases may be alarming, the death rate is growing much more slowly. Winter is coming: be careful out there!


Training in Compassion #4: Don't Get Stuck on Peace

When you practice training number two, "See Everything as a Dream," or training number three, "Examine the Nature of Awareness," and some of the other practices, life gets rather dreamy and abstract, as you will have noticed if you have been working with those practices. These practices are pleasant and reveal to you some important truths, but every truth, no matter how important, can also become something you get stuck on.

Life is perpetually dynamic. Every truth eventually encounters the limits of its usefulness. Seeing clearly that what is naively taken for reality is an illusory dream -- and that there is no self at the center of that illusion – these are crucial steps. But they are not the last step. The empty, dream-like nature of everything becomes just one more concept, and soon that concept, like any concept, will trip you up.

Forget about how great it is to be nobody, because that's just another excuse. Don’t let these slogans become a belief system. Hold them lightly. Don't think you have understood them. They are just devices.

See the full post: "Don't Get Stuck on Peace."



Jackrabbit Roshi was there at the beginning of our adventures with Raven -- in #1, where he put the teaching of mutually dependent arising at the center. Since then, Jackrabbit has only been referred to: in #38, where Raven invites her students to speak up about "anything in our program that troubles you"; -- #70, where Woodpecker asks about reports that Jackrabbit is now putting "just this!" at the center; -- and #86, where Owl asks about Jackrabbit supposedly having said, "the mind has no qualities and its essence is compassion."

Turning points unavoidably arise, if they arise at all, within and out of your own situation. But, as Owl learns, it's no easy thing to be grounded in, and clear about just what your situation is

Owl came forward one evening and called up to Raven on his perch, saying, "Jackrabbit Roshi was the first teacher you met."
Raven said, "That's right."
Owl said, "I've heard he said the best turning points come out of your own situation. Did you ever hear him say such a thing?"
Raven said, "What's your situation?"
Owl swung his head from side to side.
Raven asked, "What turning points come from that?".
Owl hooted.
Raven said, "I'm not convinced."
"During revolutions, scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before." --Thomas Kuhn

When did it happen? You
Becoming you, I becoming
Is not change, though continuous,
Were there not moments --
   a day, a year, or two --
Of seeing through a new glass,
Just as dark,
But that seemed less so?
Were we not given
Glimpses because of which we took
A yellow-woods road that
Made all the difference?
Did we not,
At some identifiable-afterwards time
Turn aside from the task of shoring up the imperium,
And set ourselves instead to construct new forms?
When did it happen?
Might it be happening again?
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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