Present Presence | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

06.4.21 | Community, Pulpit Posts, World

            If you pass by the gate at the entrance to the Holy Apostles courtyard on 9th Avenue on any given day around the beginning of May, you will encounter a large lilac bush. There are many beautiful plants in our garden and on our grounds, and this flowering tree is truly a jewel in that crown. When in bloom it is startlingly beautiful—healthy, gorgeous purple flowers—and the scent is incredible. You can smell the lilacs from more than six feet away.

            Every once in a while, I see someone cutting a few of the blooms to take away with them. I understand the impulse. The flowers are so cheerful, and they smell so good and wouldn’t it be great to own some of that loveliness; to possess it in some way? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring those lilacs close? To preserve them, so that they can be enjoyed at will?

            Of course, this impulse doesn’t square with the reality of lilac blossoms severed from their source. Any short-term gain from a vase of any flowers is mediated by the reality that cut flowers don’t live forever. No flowers in any form do, and there is a lesson imbedded in all floral beauty: it is meant to be enjoyed in real time, for a limited time.

            As tempting as it is to grasp what we love and hold tight, God has other plans. From the instructions that the Hebrews gather only enough manna in the wilderness for their daily needs to Jesus telling Mary Magdalene not to cling to His post-resurrection form, Scripture reminds us to be present in the now and to trust that sustenance will flow to us from the God who provides all things.

            Change is embedded in the gift of life God bestows upon us. Our spiritual challenge is to inhabit the moments we are given (whatever they bring), while trusting that God will offer more as a new reality evolves. What joy it is to relish the lilacs while they are in bloom! And how reassuring is the faith that, as the lilacs fade, God provides roses.

Peace,

Photo Jeffrey Penn, 2021
Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

THE LATEST

Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

LEARN MORE
For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.

Sermons

Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.

History

Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

MUSIC

Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

LEARN MORE
Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.

LEARN MORE
SOCIAL SERVICES

Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.

Classes

Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.

LEARN MORE
Volunteer

Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.

Partner

Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.

Donate

Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

VIEW ALL
Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.

EVENTS

See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.

Newsroom

Holy Apostles in the news.