Beloved St. John’s community,
I believe with all my heart that this pandemic, while never something we would have chosen, is offering us the chance to re-envision nearly everything about the way we live. In my personal life I am reviewing much of what I have found important or essential and questioning some of the assumptions about needing to live as a nuclear family instead of in community; how often I commute; my impact on the environment; etc. etc. In our faith community life we are forced to re-imagine all of our structures. Most broadly, I also see the invitation to finally be liberated from being what Martin Luther called incurvatus in se – curved in on ourselves – and truly turning toward our neighbors in love.
But, I also know we won’t be able to do these things until we grieve what is no longer. This Sunday we celebrate one of the seven great feasts of the Christian liturgical year, Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. The disciples were bereft of his presence, again. They were charged to wait until the Holy Spirit filled them with power and gave them eyes to see how God was at work around them despite their tremendous pain and loss. But I can’t help but believe they felt empty, discouraged, and tempted to just quit.
This week, I invite us all to name that which we miss the most about the way things were before COVID-19 showed up. I miss your faces. I miss nearly everything about our worship on Sunday mornings. I miss doing Holy Communion with you. I miss the powerful music of both services and the quiet introversion of the 8:00am service. I miss those of you who haven’t been able to adapt to zoom.
I invite you to simply grieve that which needs grieving in your life, knowing that God in Christ meets us there and in every part of who we actually are. Be embraced in the love of God, knowing that God is intimately present with us and has not, nor ever will, abandon us.
Next week, we will turn to Pentecost. But not yet, my friends. How are you, really? Let God meet you there.