Yesterday Bishop Susan sent a pastoral letter to the diocese. After noting the upward trends in Covid-19 statistics, she observed, "I think God is asking us to take a season away from in-person worship for the sake of our people and our community.
She has directed all congregations to refrain from in-person worship in July. After consultation with our Worship Taskforce and our next rector, Fr. Andrew Butler, it has been determined that St. Margaret's will not consider resuming in-person worship before September. You can be assured that these decisions have been guided by much prayer.
At our Zoom Coffee Hour last week, Jane Hodnik made a very profound observation. She had been approaching our online worship sad about the dimensions of in-person worship it cannot afford. But last Sunday, she realized online worship brings its own new dimensions that cannot be matched in person: very close and direct eye contact with the speakers, choice of time and setting, the ability to replay something for added appreciation and more.
I would never attend the Super Bowl. I can see the action better on TV. I will attend in-person worship in the future. It's MUCH better than the Super Bowl and less expensive. But the analogy has merit: there are parts of online worship that are special and superior. Let's relish those and look forward to a time when we can enjoy the best of both with deeper appreciation than ever.
In the meantime, Jesus calls his disciples to play a constructive part in safeguarding the health of all: Stay home as much as you can. Avoid even small gatherings with others who do not seem to be sick. Such gatherings have been a major source of contagion in our county. Use a facial covering when you do need to go out, and wash, wash, wash. The Pharisees were right in washing their hands; they were just wrong to get huffy about it. If we all follow these steps, no one will be tempted to get huffy!