Dear Church family at Mt Paul United Church, please know I am holding you all in my prayers as we each begin the hard work of grappling with our individual and our collective responses to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As good citizens in the Canadian context and as followers in the Way of Jesus, we all want to put our best foot forward as the virus spreads. Bravo and well done, dear friends in the Spirit! This is not easy work and it’s a long way before we will see where the road leads! It does appear to be a long and windy one, however.
As we try to come to terms with the limits being imposed on our everyday comings and goings so as to contain the virus, how very strange it feels to not congregate in groups. Everything from taking part in yoga or aqua-fit, choir, keeping up with medical appointments, pickle ball tournaments, vacations in sunnier climes, even to gathering for church on Sundays is impacted by the need to contain this virus. We need to keep as many folk as healthy as we possibly can. This includes the young and the old, the wise and the weary, the weak and the vulnerable, the shut-in’s and the homeless.
Friends, the outbreak of COVID-19 and our responses to our civil and government leaders’ decisions and recommendations to us has far reaching implications for all our lives, the lives of our families and friends, and of course, of our neighbours and acquaintances as well. If you are like me, you might find yourself checking the CBC News first thing in the morning, at 3 in the afternoon, and then again at 10pm or not. It is good, however, to take a break from all the media hype, the frenzy of stockpiling food and supplies, and to lean into the new learning required around the etiquette of ‘social distancing’. One set of practices I am also actively trying to follow is this:
- Set aside some time each day to be intentionally grateful for another sunrise or sunset and another call or e-mail from a friend or colleague.
- Be intentional each day about reaching out to someone who might be feeling lonely or isolated.
- Be patient with yourself. It will be a while before things get back to ‘normal’.
- Make every effort to move your body in some way-even tightening and relaxing facial muscles is good!
- Be creative-paint that chair, write that prayer or poem, sketch that dream, plant those seeds, find new ways of looking at a problem.
This week, I have had the great good fortune to spend several hours in online teleconferences with over 130 ministry colleagues and lay leaders alike. All over our region here in the Thompson Okanagan, the Kootenays, Northern British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the Coast are grappling with the same issues: folks are worried about our livelihoods, our mission, our purpose, our budgets, our church families, and, at the heart of our life in together in community, our worship practices. As you may know, there are some plans evolving for how we can be continue to be the church online, over the phone, by e-mail, and even via snail mail in these strange days, so please do stay tuned in as new ways of being the church in this unprecedented time unfold.
Let us also keep praying for one another all the while remembering that God has known us from before we were knit together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139) and that there absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38).
Springtime Blessings, Dearest Ones!
In faith, hope, and love,
778 926 4452 cel/text