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Guacamole is made hereHallo again to all.

It has been an Eastertide of oncologists. Unfortunately, this is a not a noun of assemblage for doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer. The great fifty days began with two visits to doctor-experts, and both have provided a surfeit of emotion with food for prayerful thought as we have walked through the rest of the season.

The first was for an AO staff member, and it brought the excellent news—after a battery of tests—that remission was indeed continuing. After a few moments of post-consultation joy in the waiting room of a major American hospital, we repaired to a local restaurant for a meal of the size that really only ought to be consumed in Easter Week or the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was a long dinner as befits a festal occasion, and we ended up with tears on our faces as we laughed about common dead-bishop friends, and about the goodness of the news we'd had earlier that day. It was a day to remember and repeat.

The second oncological visit was with a friend of AO, a faithful reader of many years' standing with whom one of our editors has dined weekly for about a decade. It brought the news that surgery and chemotherapy had not successfully arrested the growth of a tumor; more aggressive surgery was indicated. This was news for which we had been prepared, but the medical confirmation of it was still a blow. After fumbling with coats, hats and umbrellas in the doctor's lobby, we repaired to a local restaurant for a dinner that wasn't quite festal, but still deliberate, focused, full of thankfulness for company and food. We ended up with tears in the corners of our eyes and lumps in our throats as we talked about what to do next. It was a day we suspect it'll be necessary to remember and repeat.

These days had quite a lot in common with one another and the Christian life, despite their different immediate trajectories. Both days started with love forged through time. Both meals began with thanking God for 'all the blessings of the table, those on it and those round it'.* Both had conversation of the cor ad cor loquitur sort. Both ended with depth of feeling that brought forth tears. Both situations of crisis came to fruition with truth and food.

On the rocks on ThirdIn retrospect over our most recent Eastertide—now all too soon to turn into Ascensiontide and Whitsuntide, with their own attendant changes and chances—we think we've begun to understand afresh some of the lessons of the first Easter. Uncertainty and fear have been met with truth and hearts willing to bear it. Friends scattered by geography have been brought together through grace. The miracle of the empty tomb, with its love stronger than death, is still a miracle in light of bone-scans and labwork. God's gifts are still known to us in the breaking of bread (well, tortillas in one case and potatoes in the other) and in prayer, both inside and outside the eucharist. Whether you prefer it as sung by Dooley Wilson or Vera Lynn, the fundamental things really do apply as time goes by.

What strikes us as noteworthy is that this Eastertide would not have brought us precisely the same gifts in the same ways without human connections we have made through the internet. Our days are so much filled with computers and awareness of the (often Anglican) abuses thereof that we sometimes wonder whether grace really can flow through circuits, or whether the careful love that goes into the keyboard on this side really does make it through to the other side. This year, we know that if we hadn't looked for a church online and started attending that parish, or hadn't begun online correspondence a decade ago and collaborating on that site, we would not have been able to form the particular relationships that have brought us so much good in the last months alone.

And we now know anew—thanks to friends near and far who have encouraged us from the shores of Lake Michigan, the banks of the Owlkill, just across the Indispensable Strait, and at the southern end of San Francisco Bay—that the web can indeed be used together for good, in a fresh wired twist on the apostle's old teaching. Thank you one and all.

See you next week.

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Last updated: 17 May 2009

* This is the most unobtrusive grace we know. You can say it without seeming out of place whether there's mariachi music playing over the restaurant speakers or a baseball game blaring from the pub's tv screens.

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