A couple of months ago I had a photo of St. David's made into a 1000-piece puzzle. I thought we could sell them in Holy Grounds. As the coronavirus began to make headline news, I took the puzzle out of the box and set it up in the family room. For several weeks I have worked on the puzzle at the close of each day. Throughout the day I stop by the puzzle and look for a new place for one more piece. I know some of the people in the picture, so as their images appear, I take a picture and send it to a few of them, saying, "I'm puzzling out your family." Sweet, playful replies were returned.
As the shape of the church becomes clear--as the lines and potholes at 7th and San Jac make a spider web of grey; with the firming up of the outline of the Federal Building to the north, as the Day School and Trinity Center come clearly into view--this puzzle is becoming an icon of prayer for me.
The people on the sidewalk outside bring to mind all the people who call St. David's home, all of whom I am fretting and worrying about during this coronavirus crisis.
I think about the young families who are staying at home, trying to make something normal out of a very abnormal circumstance.
I think about our single parishioners who live alone, working hard to stay connected to the outside world.
I think about our senior adults who are staying at home out of necessity, perhaps isolated from the ones they love.
I think about my friends in nursing homes who can't even step down the hall to check on a friend.
I think about our seniors in high school who will not have a traditional spring semester.
I think about our candidates who were planning to be baptized at the Great Vigil and how we might still mark this important time in their lives in different ways.
I think about our homeless neighbors who don't have anywhere to self-isolate even if they wanted to.
I think about our hardworking staff, adapting their work, learning new skills to present the Gospel in creative digital ways.
On and on the prayer goes. Such is the power of a good puzzle.
You'll also notice that it is not finished. You see, the pieces of the sky are the problem. The colors are so similar, they blend so gently into one another, I find it nearly impossible to find what comes next. I rely on an unusually shaped corner or a unique intersection to provide a path forward, slowly, one piece at a time. At the time of this writing, the horizon is still unclear.
At the risk of driving a sweet metaphor into the ground, this feels about right for now.
St. David's is still solid. We are still Better Together, even if it's a bit unclear exactly how all the pieces fit together. The horizon is unclear. From all accounts, it's going to take the whole world a long time to figure out how to piece together what comes next. It will take St. David's a long time to find the interlocking pieces that make us whole at a time like this.
But we have done this before. We have lived through civil war, plague, world wars, economic recessions and depressions, and seasons of great uncertainty. Each time we have risen to the occasion. Each time we have found a new way, a clear horizon to set us on the right path.
Most of all, God is still God, and God is faithful, and God shows up when people are in need.
So we pray, we call, we email, we cry, we laugh, we create new ways of being
Please call and email each other often, friends. Wash your hands. Faithfully work on the puzzle set before us. Allow the puzzle to become a prayer.