From the Interim Rector - October 23, 2020
One of the Bible verses that often gets referenced by clergy seeking to encourage church attendance is found in Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Now that it is becoming increasingly apparent that “meeting together” as we used to will not return until well into next year, it is increasingly important that we discern and develop new models of how we live into Christian community. Christianity has never been a spirituality of isolation or, for that matter, individual personal piety. The core teaching of Jesus during his earthly ministry was that we are to be one. One with Jesus. One with the Father/Mother. One with one another. Even one with all creation as we consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air as examples of God’s abiding care. The primacy of this teaching is reflected in our Book of Common Prayer at the beginning of the Baptismal liturgy:
There is one Body, and one Spirit;
There is one hope in God’s call to us;
One Lord, one faith, one Baptism;
One God and Father of all.
I have marveled how, in some ways, it feels we are more closely connected with one another through our Zoom worship, coffee hours, and various Bible studies and book groups than we were before all this began. Not that people were disconnected before, but now, as we each enter into one’s home office, kitchen, dining room, etc., and perhaps catch a glimpse every once in the while of a beloved cat walking across the keyboard, it feels more intimate—more personal. We also seem more willing to share a bit more of our personal challenges and anxieties as well the things that bring us joy and enrich our hearts. One of the authentic marks of a Christian community is that we “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) And so we have been doing through these long months of pandemic.
As we prepare to bring this liturgical year to an end and enter once more into our Advent journey we continue on uncharted ground. Yet even though the ground may be uncharted we are not left without resources as we make our way forward. One of those resources that will continue to guide us as a community is you. For, without you our community is less whole, less vital, less able to chart the way ahead. I appreciate that many in our parish may well be overloaded and exhausted from Zoom, Skype, Google Meets and all the other online platforms that have pushed their way into our lives and into our very homes. That is one of the reasons I am so glad we have been able to restart in-person worship. You may not feel you can come each week. You may not feel it safe to even come. However, it is there for each of us when the time is right for you to once more engage in public worship. Until then, and even after, I hope you will help all of us to discover new expressions of community and of oneness as the Body of Christ, knowing that your sisters and brothers in Christ are here to rejoice with you and, when needed, to weep with you. All in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer that we all may be one, as he and the Father/Mother are one.