Easter is a season to have eyes opened to new life!
As we begin to rise up out of a year of COVID darkness, as we begin to contemplate gathering together in public worship after nearly 70 recorded worship services, as we begin to wander back into the ordinary life of friends, family, and work, I pray that our vision will be clearer about the things that really matter, the things we have taken for granted that are essential to our well-being as people.
You no doubt will have your own list of things you never want to take for granted again, but I offer here the beginning of my list:
1. I want to have a renewed awareness of the importance of touch — being able to actually hug, shake hands, hold hands, enfold one another in the bodily warmth of our love for one another. Gentle, respectful, loving touches with others is the way we communicate welcome, endearment, acceptance, and gratitude to one another. Touch is a language beyond words, and to be deprived of touch is a harmful constriction of communication. I do not want to take touch for granted.
2. I want to have a renewed awareness of the beauty of a congregation of people in church praying, singing, and worshiping God. A central conviction of our faith tradition is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us: Incarnation. Much is lost when the worship of God is reduced to a screen. We handled and are handling this video option very well (I think), but it should not be considered a replacement for people in pews shoulder to shoulder, face to face, sharing the journey of our calling to follow the love of God embodied in Jesus. We are made stronger and bolder in our desires to be the people God calls us to be when we are with one another and experiencing the movement of God’s Spirit within and among our companions on the journey of faith. I do not want to take for granted the importance of being together in church.
3. I want to have a renewed awareness of the connectedness of all people. Surely COVID has shown us that we breath the same air, inhabit the same earth, and share the same vulnerabilities as our brothers and sisters around the world. We are not islands to ourselves as individuals, communities, nations, and inhabitants of different continents. We share the earth with its bounties and threats. Our solutions to the issues we face as human beings seeking to live in health, safety, and abundance must keep the world in mind. What we do and how we act has an effect beyond the boundaries of our neighborhood. We are a part of a world neighborhood, and our decisions and actions should always take that truth into account. I do not want to take for granted the importance of our connection to all of God’s creation.
This might be a good time for you to make a list of the things you do not want to take for granted. Said in the positive: to make a list of the things of which you want to have renewed awareness.
P.S. A few things to keep in mind:
- Please keep wearing masks.
- If you have not had the COVID vaccination, please find a way to do so.
- The Session has set Pentecost Sunday (May 23) as a target date for gathering in public worship; no doubt there will be protocols for gathering and we will make those known as soon as we determine what they should be.
- A number of families (and friends and communities) have experienced the deaths of loved ones during the pandemic. Those families are beginning to plan memorial services. This month there will be outdoor, family-only memorials for Helen Cannon, Stan Foster, and Joan Jenkins. More will be planned in May and then in the summer. Please keep these families in your prayers, and if you are able to send a note to any of them, please know that your thoughts will be a comfort.