I settled the strap of my camera around my neck, stepped off my front porch, and crossed the yard to a treeless spot. I strolled across the lawn of mixed bluegrass, rye, and sweetly fragrant clover, whose white blossoms lie sprinkled like stars across the deepening green. Climbing the darkening clouds in the east, the full moon of early June began to cast shadows as the sun collapsed into a golden puddle in the western sky.
As the moon rose higher and brighter and as the sunset glow grew darker, soft shadows of darkest green began to form, twinned shapes of sentinel ash trees, motionless bushes, and fence posts at attention. A moving feline-shaped shadow padded up to me and leaned her black, silky shoulder against my shin, twining around my ankles.
The breeze had dropped to a whisper of shushing ash leaves. I could hear the neighbor’s cattle lowing from their pasture and the peeper frogs trilling in chorus. The peace and beauty of this moonlit evening wrapped around me like a blanket.
Native Americans called this full moon the Strawberry Moon, for the time of not-quite-summer when wild strawberries ripened in the meadows at the sunny edges of woodlands.
Watching the same full moon sail across the same gentle spring skies, the Europeans named it the Rose Moon, for the time when roses began to unfold their fragrant blossoms from thorny stems.
So which is it, Strawberry Moon or Rose Moon? Sweet fruit or sweetly scented flower? The choice is a false one.
When searching for full moon names and scientific names of fruit and flower, I found unexpected family ties. To the botanist strawberries are rosaceae fragraria and roses are rosaceae rosa. Both are in the rose family.
* * * * *
I read the news about the nine from Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, who were shot and killed in their own church. I don’t know what to say or what to do, and the fear of stumbling awkwardIy in my response to such sorrow and such noxious hate can paralyze me.
Perhaps I can start with this: there is no “their church” and “our church,” no “them” to our “us.” There is only “us” because we are all family, brothers and sisters in Christ.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV
I can cry with those who cry, recognizing that I will never truly understand the pain another suffers.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 NKJV
I can call sin by its name: hate, violence, racism.
Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 12:9 NKJV
I can celebrate the spirit of forgiveness that is Spirit born.
I can pray for the families of those who were killed and ask the Lord that sweet fruit may come from bitter actions.
Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. I Peter 2:17 MSG
In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.
or black church and white church . . .
Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:28 MSG
Emanuel AME church, I send you my love and prayers. You are family.