Dearest St.Mark’s family,
This week we will continue with our online worship, and I wanted to take a minute and talk about some things that might help us to feel more connected in our virtual community.
First, a word about the recent surge in cases in our community. As you have no doubt seen or heard, Hays County continues to see increases in Covid-19 cases. This is, naturally, very difficult news for many of us. There are people in our church family whose lives have been directly affected by this pandemic, and almost daily, our circle of connection grows with every case. It is as important now as it has ever been to keep the sick and their families in your prayers. And while you’re at it... don’t forget doctors, nurses, and the medical community!
So with all that is going on around us, how can we continue to stay connected? It’s a great question with even greater answers. In some ways, it may be the great question of our faith. How do we, as the body of Christ, embrace our embodied life when we feel so disembodied? How can we stay in touch without being in touch? It, like most things in our faith, is a question of balance and “holding the tension lightly.”
I think there are some great symbols available to us in our worship that help. Here are just a few to help you connect, and when you think about them... know that you aren’t the only family in our wider family to consider them. We are brought together in just thinking about the symbols of our worship together!!!
1. The Gospel... every week, we hear scripture read and proclaimed. Chances are, you have a bible somewhere in the house. (If not, let me know.) Go find that Bible and let it remind you that we are united in the story of our faith. It’s deep. It’s rich. And we are a part of the bigger narrative. Let the good news of God’s love be part of your story! Because it is already!!!
2. The table itself... we all have tables in our homes. For many of us, they are places of quiet and conversation. Hospitality and refuge. Solace and strength. The table at St. Mark’s is a representative for the heavenly banquet table, but it’s also a connection to your table at home. May the food we eat nourish our bodies for the work of God’s love in the world.
3. The bread and wine... obviously this is spiritual food for spiritual people. The gifts of God for the people of God, but it’s also deeply representative of the simple things that nourish us and sustain us in the Grace of God. Bread and wine. Body and Blood. Connections for us in the simple goodness of food and drink.
4. The font... finally, that wonderfully simple symbol of our connection to the family of God. Water in a bowl that reminds each and every one of us that we are marked and sealed as Christ’s own forever.
At the end of the day, these symbols draw us in through all the senses. What we see, smell, taste and touch become living reminders of things we can’t necessarily see or smell or taste or touch. These symbols unite us in a spiritual communion that is so wonderfully common to all of us, no matter what!
We are a people of common prayer. We are brought together in the spirit of love that transcends all our unusual circumstances and nothing... not spikes or surges or distance apart can separate us from the love we share in Christ Jesus!
So this weekend, renew your sacred space with us by paying attention to the holiness in your very own home. Embrace those symbols as the outward and visible signs of the inward and spiritual connection that we share as the people of St. Mark’s!
And remember... you are loved!