1-2:00 p.m. - David and Leigh Smith of St. Albans assume the baton. David whistles and notes, "I've never seen so many people on Church Street."
It's a day of graduations, Kids' Parade, friends getting together - underneath the canopy of a brilliant blue sky.
Leigh had determined that it may be others' gift to search for Satan's stamp and to speak out against it, but today she is focused on finding where God is bursting out and to celebrate those things - in fact, "call out for more."
We start south on Church Street - florists' places spilling forth beautiful colors and varieties of flowers - the blend of nationalities, ages, interests, backgrounds - all over Church Street.
An old man pushes his wife in a wheelchair - she is covered with a red, white, and blue afghan. So much has happened in this city since 9/11. So much has happened since their day - World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Kuwait, now Iraq
We pass a man blowing up balloons and shaping them into animals for children who pass by. Like Jesus, he laughs and the children want to come to him. He stoops low to talk to a very little person. He doesn't mind wearing a silly balloon hat. He also is covered in colors.
Festivity is calling God's name to come and play, come and bless; and God turns His handsome eyes, playful and adoring, on His bride.
We are bringing a gift to a friend - a son of the King - on King Street. We pass the VFW on So. Winooski Ave., and pray for veterans everywhere, that their meeting together would be a wholesome, helpful venture and made free from trauma and bitterness.
My husband remembers his brother, Doug, a Vietnam medic, who died.On King Street, a lively yellow tent is for sale at a yard sale among multi-family houses. My husband considers it for our 12-year-old daughter. He buys a video, cheap - one he's been looking for, for a long time. God's lavish grace is present even at a yard sale. We celebrate the very nature of multi-family housing, and cities, the call of being close to one another, benefiting from each other, looking out over a glistening lake - the streaming water from God's throne.
His mercies are new every morning.
People are eating and drinking at many booths and roadside cafés. How many times, Jesus, did you sit with friends and enjoy the sun on your face, and a glass of wine? You are fasting from it, Lord, until you return - we are humbled at that.
We stand before the Merrill Lynch building - symbol of high finance - a bull. I prayed, Lord Jesus, wouldn't you be a bull Yourself in that china Shop? Come and have Your way among those whose joy is manna and not yet You.
We pause at the County Courthouse where David notes Senator Leahy was a county official. We are sobered to pray for justice - especially for "the widows and orphans" - and for those who serve in government and law. I now work for an attorney who has represented clients in family court before a number of other attorneys whose offices we pass, one by one, down to the Lake.
They make beaucoup bucks.
But You can turn it around in a second, Lord. They might have a 9/11 of their own. They might have a night where You wash their feet, and their faces are sunk in their hands, not able to take in such meekness and majesty.
Kids are in strollers, on bikes, in dazzling outfits, in backpacked arrangements on their parents' shoulders, as they come up from the waterfront.
We pass an infant crying, "Ah-ooooh, ah-ooooh," who reminds us of Patience.
We pass a tiny girl dressed as a butterfly, with ringlets of black curls.
We pass a woman who shouts gleefully to an older man, "We're all kids today!"
And, we are.
"Come and feed Your lambs."
At the Radisson we pause, remembering a murder known to us here. We pray the residue of crime might be cleansed - Your own blood does it, Lord, and this would be a wonderful meeting ground of people coming, and going, and finding rest and retreat while overlooking the Lake to our sister, New York.
2:20 p.m. - We continue to be baffled by the artwork south of Battery Park. "Is that art, or did they just refuse to fix it?" Dave asks with half a smile.
Walking up from Battery along Pearl St. Leigh reflects on the days of "March for Jesus" - we are swimming against the direction of a flow of worshippers along these same streets from 1994 - 2000. Her heart aches - "Will we never again see these streets flooded with Christians singing Your praise, Lord Jesus?"
Everything seems red. A couple's twin T-shirts. Red tulips. Red cars. Red pickups. Red canopies. Red tulips, again. Your blood, Lord Jesus. Your sacrifice.
A little girl stops on a curb to tie her sneakers. A dollar bill lies before her - all she has and she feels very rich with it, a big grin on her face.
May we be content with what we have, Lord Jesus.
We look for areas to pause and pray and write in the sun. These Son-splashed areas are cause to celebrate and call for more.
We reflect on who is to follow us - a deacon in the Catholic church - a peacemaker, a healer - and a woman devoted to prayer, a Canadian, who has made this city her home and her calling. Their backgrounds will mingle in prayer that brings glory to further hours - soup without such curry is tasteless.
We love you, Jesus.