Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It has only been a few days since we last met but it seems like the whole world has changed in the meantime. As a reminder, the Bishop has suspended our public worship for the next two weeks. We now know said suspension will continue through Holy Week and Easter. This is a shocking interruption to our faithful worship and leaves me stinging and disappointed. I believe, however, that Bishop Alan has made a decision that draws on common sense, expert advice, and faithfulness to our neighbors. We will not be able to worship in community for Easter. I would never have been able to imagine such a thing even weeks ago but here we are. The faithful have endured much worse. My friend and old card partner from seminary The Rev. Matt Farr recently gave an encouraging word:
"We may grieve our temporary dislocation from our accustomed places of worship, but we must remember that the early Church gestated around kitchen tables before maturing under vaulted naves. Those early Christians met in their homes out of necessity, especially during periods of fear and persecution under the likes of Decian and Diocletian. We find ourselves again huddling in our homes, this time not out of fear but for love. We are called to love our neighbor, and to love our neighbor is to will the good health of our neighbor. So we endure the painful breaking of the Body of Christ in this way. We are separated from one another physically, yes, but what will have time to grow in this time? Christ’s Body was broken for the good of the world once for all. What good will come from our brokenness? We break the Bread-Body in order to share it. What will we be able to share from this? What new life in the Church is gestating in our homes, waiting to emerge and grow in the world? We are either a Resurrection people or a dead people. In the face of disease and death and brokenness and dislocation we make our defiant song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! New life is waiting for the Church on the other side of this pandemic as it is for us on another shore."
I give thanks for my friend's true and lively words. Below are resources, ideas, and practices I hope will carry us to an unknown shore.
Yours in Faith, Hope, and Love,