So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
I have been thinking a lot about this Bible verse recently. It's one that pops into my mind often, like some of my favorite hymns do. So many things are taking on new meaning these days, scripture among them. This particular passage sounds very different to me, sitting in my home and unable to gather with you. Sharing the gospel with each other, sharing ourselves with each other happens very differently today than it did just a few short weeks ago. But the good news is, it is happening!
I trust you received a phone call from someone in the St B community sometime in the last week... when we changed the name "Pastoral Care" to the
Caring Community Network
, we had no idea we’d be networking in quite this way! But we are, and you’ll continue to hear from each other until we can be back at church together. And I hope you were able to join us for church last Sunday! I know there was a bit of confusion for a couple of you, and I am convinced we will find our way. If you had trouble, send an email with your questions to
to get some guidance. While it was strange to be in the church, “leading” a church service without you there, it was also a profound privilege. It’s not lost on me that I get to go be in the church each week to worship, when others do not. I am very grateful that streaming worship services from inside our churches (with the fewest people possible) is still possible, at least for this week. It isn’t the same as being there with you, and still, once Paul hits the first note on the organ, I am steeped in worship. Wherever two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, he is with us.
Until we are able to gather at church again, which Bishop Rickel now tells us will not be until after Easter Sunday, I’ll be writing to you each week with news from the Bishop, inspiring things I’ve come across, and mostly just to stay in touch and to remind us that we’re in this together, that we will get through this together and that we belong together. We are the church, and whether or not we are in the same building, we remain the Body of Christ with Christ in our midst. The longing to worship together is a good and holy longing, something to be paid attention to. We are missing so many people and things in our lives and the measure of our sadness and longing is the measure of our love. We need to remember when things feel hard, that our deep longing, even grieving is rich and real and to be honored. What we’re doing is very hard, and we are all doing it. Together. So make room for the sadness and the longing, but make room for the connection and joy too! We are creating a kinder and more compassionate world with our responses to this pandemic - there are all sorts of beautiful things happening that never would have happened if we hadn’t been separated. If you
, you’ll see one of them! These students singing solo from their homes remind us that there are still so many beautiful ways to be together.
We will gather for church again at 10AM on Sunday – you’ll receive an email with a link on Sunday morning around 9:30. We hope you’ll join us. Look for more information in tomorrow’s e-newsletter.
I miss you more than I can say. Wash your hands, tell the grocery store checkers how grateful you are for their work, stay in touch, share the love, be the church. God bless you all.