A Vespers for these times… May 10, 2020

Mother's Day!


Hark the Vesper bell is pealing,

O’er the meadow, soft and green.

Nearer now and nearer stealing,

Soft it breaks upon my ear.

Jubilate, Jubilate, Jubilate, Amen. Jubilate, Jubilate, Jubilate, Amen.


First Thoughts:

It’s Mothers’ Day!  2020.  And this is the 8th Vespers for These Times.  Wow.  On this very important day in our culture and many others, mothers of all sorts deserve our enthusiastic praise!  Yes!  Mothers of ALL sorts!  Have you been watching any nature programs over the last 8 weeks?  Have you noticed the behaviors of mothers in the animal community, too?  Today, we should celebrate all of the species we will broadly call “Mothers”!

Sing:  “Knowing you is oh so Lovely!”

Knowing you is oh, so lovely!

Knowing you is oh so fine.

Even on a cold, grey morning,

We can make the sunlight shine!

Loving you is oh, so lovely!

Loving you is oh so fine.

Even on a cold, grey morning,

We can make the sunlight shine!

All the heavens know I love you,

Just because I told them so.

All the flowers in the meadow,

All the stars and all the stones.

All the horses in the valley,

All the waves upon the sea.

All the mountains, standing silent,

Far above the golden trees.

So I’ll sing my feelings to you.

Set them down in simple rhyme.

All I am remains here with you,

All of me for all of time.

Loving you is oh, so lovely!

Loving you is oh so fine.

Even on a cold grey morning, we can make the sunlight shine.

Two Poems and Two perspectives on the day; the latter, topsy turvey!


My mother kept a garden,

A garden of the heart.

She planted all the good things

That gave my life its start.

She turned me to the sunshine

And encouraged me to dream.

Fostering and nurturing

The seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rain came,

She protected me enough,

But not too much because she knew

I’d need to stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example

Always taught me right from wrong

Markers for my pathway

That will last a lifetime long.

I am my mother’s garden.

I am her legacy.

And I hope today she feels the love

Reflected back from me.


James James

Morrison Morrison

Weatherby George Dupree

took great

care of his Mother

though he was only three.

James James said to his Mother,

“Mother”, he said, said he:

“You must never go down to the end of the town,

if you don’t go down with me.”

James James

Morrison’s Mother

put on a golden gown,

James James

Morrison’ Mother

drove to the end of the town.

James James

Morrison’s Mother

said to herself, said she:

“I can get down to the end of the town and

be back in time for tea.”

King John

put up a notice,










James James

Morrison Morrison

(Commonly known as Jim)

told his

other relations

not to go blaming him.

James James

said to his Mother,

“Mother”, he said, said he,

“You must never go down to the end of the town

without consulting me.”

James James

Morrison’s Mother

hasn’t been heard of since.

King John

said he was sorry,

so did the King and the Prince.

King John,

(Somebody told me)

said to a man he knew:

“If people go down to the end of the town,

well, what can anyone do?”

(Now then, very softly)



W.G. du P.

took great c/o his M*****

though he was only 3.

1. J.

Said to his M*****

“M*****”,  he said, said he:

“You must never go…..down….to….the….end….of….the….town


Song: Christie Belanger- “Into the Light of”        Thank you Christie!

“This is an original song called “In The Light Of.” The song is about feeling close to someone you love, no matter the circumstances that may keep you apart or the challenges you might face together. I felt like the song had a special connection to Mother’s Day and also the climate of our world today, as so many of us have to face these difficult times without the ones we love.”-Christie



(Two of these Mom and daughter pictures are taken at Camp! Can you guess which ones!)


For those of us living in the western world, Greek mythology tells us that the first mother, Mother Earth, was Gaia.  Generations later, science frequently replaces the myths around creation, but interestingly enough, some earth scientists and some people who practice religions focused on the earth use the name “Gaia” now to mean the whole complex planet on which we live and depend. 

Many climate change activists call up her name to remind us that the earth is a complex, living organism that should be seen as our Mother.  And that would mean, if we choose to care for her the way we care for our own mothers, she will care well for us.  And if we forget to care, then some of the climate challenges we feel now might reflect Gaia’s displeasure!  On this Mother’s Day and every day, Gaia, the original mother, deserves our love and care even as we offer that to our own mothers.  Today…..celebrate Gaia!

When we think about our mothers, we can quickly name the qualities that we admire.  Mothers offer love, safety, protection, care, laughter, fun, teaching,….so many things that make our own lives work so well.  Animal mothers, of course, as is the case with human mothers, are different in the ways they care for their “children”, but do supply many of the elements that human mothers offer.  Did you know that female orangutans visit their mothers until they are 15 or 16 years old in return for having been supported by their own mothers for six or seven years.  In fact, for the first four months of their lives, baby orangutans never break physical contact with their moms!   Did you know that African elephants live in a matriarchal herd—female elephants rule!  The lead “mom” elephants even set a pace for the herd’s movements that accommodates the slowest new walkers!  It’s just like a camp hike day!  Or how about this interesting fact—alligator mothers gently carry their babies in their very toothy jaws!  Octopus moms blow currents of water over their eggs in order to protect them from predators (and she lays 50,000 at once)!  Animal mothers.  We should celebrate their many maternal instincts, talents and skills on this particular special day!  Today….celebrate animal mothers!

Our own American Mothers’ Day has a very interesting history.  Here is a little of it:

In the 1870s, after the American Civil War had killed so many people, organizations of American women began to work on ways in which women could take more political and economic control  in order to end devastating violent conflicts.  The first Mothers’ Days were not about being kind to mothers, but rather they were a call for women to raise their voices for change and power, often for peace!  In 1869 the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association and the American Woman’s Suffrage Association were organized and their work to win American women the right to vote began. Voting was and continues to be an avenue for women’s power!

Julia Ward How was a key figure in the American Woman’s Suffrage Association.  As a mother herself, Julia Ward Howe believed that women as mothers should and would have a unique and special role in the world.  Their role as nurturers would create in them, a wish to end violence across the world.  She wrote a famous article about this called an “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World”.  She said “We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs”.  In her news review for today, Heather Cox Richardson tells more about Julia Ward Howe’s story:

“Howe had her document translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Swedish, and distributed it as widely as her extensive contacts made possible.  She believed that her Women’s Peace Movement would be the next great development in human history, ending war just as the anti-slavery movement had ended human bondage.  She called for a ‘festival which should be observed as Mothers ’Day, and which should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines’ to be held around the world.”

From Julia Ward Howe’s declaration, states around the country and then into the world began to create festivals in celebration of mothers and their potential influence on the way the world runs.

So now…here we are.  Mothers’ Day. 2020.  Heather Cox Richardson, at the end of her article, urges us “while we celebrate modern Mothers’ Day, in this momentous year of 2020, …..to remember the original Mothers’ Day and Julia Ward Howe’s conviction that women must make their voices heard.”

Happy Mothers’ Day, everyone!!

Sing:   Here are three camp bed-time songs that we all love.  They go WAY back in camp history and have been bedtime songs for the children of camp mothers for generations.  Raise your voices, everyone!

Bed is too small

Bed is too small for my tiredness.

Give me a hilltop with trees.

Tuck a cloud up under my chin.

Lord, blow the moon out, please.

Rock me to sleep in a cradle of dreams.

Sing me a lullaby of leaves.

Tuck a cloud up under my chin.

Lord, blow the moon out, please.

Now Run along Home

Now run along home,

And jump into bed.

Say your prayers and cover your head.

The very same thing, I say unto you:

You dream of me, and I’ll dream of you.

Gone to Bed is the Setting Sunthis one is a round!  Teach your housemates, everyone!

Gone to bed is the setting sun.

Night is falling and day is done.

Whippoor Will, Whippoor Will..

Has just begun.

Final Thought:

My mother….she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. 

I want to grow old and be like her.”

-Jodi Picoult



Jubilate, Jubilate, Jubilte, Amen. Jubilate, Jubilate, Jubilate, Amen.




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