March 26, 2020
Dear Christ Church,
It is an irony of these days that it seems not much is happening, and yet so much is happening at the same time. While many of us are social distancing or sheltering in place, we are all striving to balance our personal needs with the needs of our families, our work, and all of the emotions that accompany such efforts, as we read headlines and look for answers. My hope is that our faith is a healthy source of life and an anchor keeping us tethered safely through all of it. Remember: God is holding us all in the palm of God's hand, and even when we don't sense it, that presence and care is having a lasting effect on us.
A friend shared an article from the Harvard Business Review this week that identifies the process that is in play for most of us; a grieving process. Those who have done grief work will recognize the similarities between these days and the days that follow a great loss in our lives. Our emotional response comes in stages and waves, and the process is not linear. We can't know how we will feel at any given moment on any given day. What we do know is that we are all being affected by this moment in time one way or another.
My most helpful spiritual exercise these days is to give my worst anxieties over to God. In the service of Compline in the Book of Common Prayer, we are reminded each night of the comforting words of Jesus from Matthew's Gospel: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden in light." As I have reflected on these words in the past, in order to take up Jesus' yoke, we have to set down what we're already carrying. Knowing what we can do and change and also what we cannot is helpful, as we learn to let go of the things we cannot hope to change. Instead, we focus on the things that are within our power to address.
In this time, I hope that you are making time to pray and meditate on God's Word. I know we're not all online, but for those who are, we have created a pattern of daily Evening Prayer. We will also continue to stream Sunday morning services and Wednesday evening X Church. We have resumed some of our classes via Zoom and we will try to add other opportunities as they arise and as they make sense. But even without that, we each have the ability to find time each day to spend with God. We can share our deepest fears and our highest joys with God and know that God loves us through both realities. If words don't come easily, we can also just sit in stillness and know that, "the Spirit intercedes on our behalf with sighs too deep for words."
As a final thought, let me relay to you how faithfully your parish staff is working to keep things going while we are distanced from one another. Each of the folks who serve Christ Church is finding ways to balance the needs of the parish with those of their families. We have each had to find ways to do what we are called to do in new ways, and you should know that we are incredibly blessed by and through our team. Please keep them in your prayers and thank them when you have a chance. Know that you remain in our prayers as well. And as always, if you need us, just reach out and let us know; we'll be there for you, even if we still can't be physically together.
Blessings to You All,
Please read important updates for Worship, Fellowship & Learning, Operations & Pledging, Outreach and the Rector's Sabbatical