Thoughts from the Pastor

                       

Being the Church in a time of “social” distancing

“…I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy” ~ 2 Timothy 1: 4

     Yesterday evening the youth group and youth leaders joined me for a Zoom meeting. Zoom is a wonderful online platform where multiple individuals can video call one another so that we can all hear and see each other at the same time. We didn’t have grand plans for our meeting, simply an opportunity to check in on one another. Still, there was something joyful about simply being together, even digitally, for a short amount of time.

     This experience has caused me to reflect, perhaps during this pandemic we need to stop using the term “social distancing.” To clarify I completely trust and understand the need to be physically distant from one another. However, I do believe there is a deep difference between being “physically” distant and “socially” distant.

     One of the criticisms often levied against the youth of today is that they rely too heavily on technology to connect to one another and perhaps are losing some personal communication skills. The irony now is that our young are needing to teach the older generations that we can remain socially connected through technology, even when we cannot be physically together.

     This type of communication while wonderful is admittedly not the same as being together in person. I feel blessed to have the tools to put together online worships that can still get other church members involved, but it’s not the same as our normal Sunday morning routine. I feel blessed to have technology that allows me to meet remotely with youth groups and other church members, but it will never replace the joy of physically being together.

     And yet, doing all we can to stay socially connected, though we are physically disconnected, is vital. I lament not being able to be with my church family in person during this season of Easter. In the words of Paul, “I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.” Even as I hope for the day we can be together again; I know it is important now more than ever to be socially connected. Call one another, write cards, plan zoom meetings, stay connected even though we are apart.

     As we navigate this strange and difficult time together, I leave you with this prayer…

Prayer by Julie Richard (My Mother)

    Loving God, who walks with us through joy and pain, we need you now.  The season of Lent feels different this year.  We are learning anew about sacrifice, about the greater good, about trusting through the unknown.  Some days we are much better at it than others.  We can identify with the disciples hiding away after the crucifixion; confused, terrified, lost.  We want to know how this ends, that we will be okay, that life will return to normal.  We want our Easter.

    In the midst of it all, trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and birds are returning.  Thank you for that.  We need the predictability of the seasons.  We need beauty.  We need signs of renewed life.  We see great acts of compassion.  We see the determined work of the medical community.  We are able to slow down and connect with family members in ways we have rarely been able to do.  So maybe Easter is going to be different this year, too.  Maybe Lent and Easter are happening simultaneously, every day, intertwined.

     Replace our anxiety with watchfulness.  Replace our lost-ness with trust.  Replace our busyness with patience.   Replace our isolation with creativity.  Replace our confusion with calm.   Show us how to be for each other and for our world.  Thank you for our community of faith, a community you designed for times such as this. Amen.

Blessings, ~ Pastor Nathan