Beloved St. John’s community,
I can hardly believe the whirlwind that has existed in the last seven days. The world as we know it is greatly changed, at least for the short term. In the weekly e-newsletter, I will be contributing a short article about how we can stay connected with each other and Jesus’ Way of Love during this time.
As is the case for many of you, I had been scheduled to go on vacation with my extended family during my daughter Carly’s spring break. Last Friday, instead of getting on an airplane, my family drove to the family cabin in Wisconsin with my extended family. There are nine adults, five kids, a dog and a cat out here in one house. In this family, we have a wide range of theological and political beliefs; we have a range of life experiences. We have a range of responses to crisis, from extreme anxiety and sleeplessness to “don’t worry be happy”. I share all this with you, not to say there is anything special about my experience, but because I suspect you can relate. There are times when we have gotten testy with each other; there have been many times we have expressed immense gratitude for each other.
In the middle of all this, the cadence of turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest has resounded in my inner spaces like a heartbeat. There is so much I can’t do. There are some things I can do, and it all begins with turn: to remind myself, over and over again, that no matter what burdens I carry, feelings I experience, or things I think, God invites us all to turn toward a greater love that is life-giving, liberating, healing, and that calls forth the best from each other.
What is helping me right now is to let go of everything except the singlehearted desire to love and serve God by loving and serving others. Yesterday, I was feeling a wee bit sorry for myself (yes, clergy do this too), and so I picked up the phone and called a lot of lovely people I care about. The joy and connection we felt with each other was immense. As you manage the crazy unpredictability and instability of the current time, I invite you to lean heavily into your interdependence with the Body of Christ and God’s love for all people. Choose connection over isolation and accomplishing tasks. Choose kindness and patience instead of blame and overwhelm. Choose the presence of God within you, and remember to practice: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest.