Last week we shared our plans for returning to in-person Sunday services on July 11. Hopefully folks have seen the July 1 letter and guidelines (click here).
Many are preparing the space for return. From cleaning out cobwebs, to weeding gardens, and setting up chairs, we are getting ready.
When my mind races ahead, I imagine what gathering again will be like and mostly I picture the familiar. Mostly, I imagine the comfort of returning.
I also need to remind myself that everyone returning will have changed. Each of our lives was abruptly disrupted. Early on we stayed home, limited our travel, and donned a mask for the first time. Since we last gathered physically, we have missed memorials, weddings and graduations. Through it all we have each been changed by the personal losses, challenges, and the joys in our lives.
As a congregation, we have been collectively changed. We’ve figured out virtual services, have struggled to keep members and friends connected, and have worked to stay a vital presence in our community. We have new members, and know there are those who are considering whether our congregation just might be a place of belonging for them.
As we prepare, we anticipate the familiar. As we prepare, we make room for the "newness" that will come with return.
Many religious traditions include rituals of preparation before major events. These rituals include the practical aspects of setting tables and putting candles in place. These rituals also include practices for opening hearts in readiness for what is about to come.
As we walk through this week, my hope is we are preparing to re-gather in a spirit of openness and curiosity.