“Hello in There”- A Reflection from the Rector


Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello”

So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello”
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Prine
Hello In There lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Dear St. Thomas Community;

Hello in there…..

I am writing to you today with a great deal on my mind, but I am guessing that puts me firmly in the same place most of you are. Much of what is on my mind deals with how we can stay connected in this time of enforced and necessary isolation. Zoom, FB Live, texting, FB, FB messenger, FaceTime as well as the reliable cards and phone calls have helped. 

One of my guiding questions as we learn that #wearestillthechurch in new ways during this time is: “How can we expand our web of connections in this unprecedented and uncertain time?”

In addition to my daily prayers for my friends, family and you, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am praying especially for John Prine as he was hospitalized in Nashville due to a sudden onset of COVID-19

I find John Prine to be one of the greatest songwriters of my age and I am not alone. When asked his favorite songwriters, no less than Bob Dylan includes John Prine at or near the top of the list. 

The song he performs in the video linked to above is one of his most poignant and sad songs. It also is a call to action for those who continue to have compassion for those isolated and perhaps forgotten in life’s circumstances. The stanzas listed below the video are versions of what serves as the song’s last two refrains. 

The reminder, for me, is that when we go out of our comfort zone and visit those for their sakes, but perhaps as importantly for what is made available to us when we reach out to the lost and the lonely.

The first ‘refrain’ talks about the growth of wisdom that can only come from experience. Not experience alone, but the wisdom that comes from wisdom that is articulated, reflected upon and culminates in action for the re-formation of the People of God, who of course is everyone. 

On the occasions that you venture out of the house I invite you to make eye contact with others driving and especially with those on the streets with no place to shelter in right now. Perhaps nod your head and just say hello out there…… 

That just might be the most affirming human connection that they might encounter on any given day. 

I leave you with this posted for John and Fiona Prine (his wife who tested positive before John) from the great Joan Baez. 
       –Fr Warren +