Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, an Episcopal priest, is the author of The Sewing Room: Uncommon Reflections of Life, Love, and Work, Meditations on the Book of Psalms: A Guide to the Care and Feeding of the Spirit, and other books. In this engaging and always illuminating collection of meditations she has emailed to parishioners and friends, she tries to discern God's presence and messages in the midst of tumultuous upheavals in New York City (the attack on the World Trade Center) and in her own life (a serious heart condition which forced her to retire as priest of St. Clement's). These brief messages are Crafton's honest and diligent efforts to reach out to others: "Here I sit, sending almost-daily bits of fluff to people I love but seldom see. They will delete or read: their choice. But at least we have the chance to connect."
Hardly fluff, these reports from the soul and the sensibility of a committed Christian serving a church in a poor neighborhood catch the rigors of the faith in hard times. Crafton notes the toxins of fear and paranoia in the air after September 11. In a revealing confession, she admits that since that infamous day she has not wanted to read murder mysteries. Whether writing about her garden, ironing, the church budget, her inability to estimate the true amount of time a task will take, the night light in the city, or an inspiring vignette about her encounter with Desmond Tutu at a conference where he said he only ever preaches one sermon God loves us; Crafton is a dedicated and skilled maker of meanings. Feast on these emails, and you will not go away hungry.