“Fasting From Public Worship”
It’s not house arrest, I tell myself. Although I commit to follow the “critical guidelines,” one of them – stay at home if you are feeling ill – has now morphed into stay at home, period. Thank you, God for my pretty good health; please help me keep it that way.
Being over 70, I am labeled “particularly susceptible to developing serious complications from the COVID-19 virus.” I respect that, and I will honor it by staying put. I suppose it is getting easier, in the sense that just about everything I would go out for is about to be, or already is, closed.
The last couple days, I am seeing a lot more people in my very friendly neighborhood out walking their dogs, or just out walking. We wave or nod, but we just keep walking. Yesterday, I stopped to say hello to a couple who were walking with their two daughters on their bikes and carrying a baby. An entire family out for a walk on a marginally nice day. We maintained our perfunctory six foot distance. “We just had to get out of the house,” she said. “I know,” I said.
When we announced the suspension of activities at St. John’s Church last week, we used the term “Lenten fast of public worship” and we said that this is a sign of our love for each other and our neighbors, and that each of us will be called to make changes, adjustments and difficult decisions. Before you fall into the rut that I am trying to climb out of, please know that our current situation is not house arrest. It is an essential component in helping ourselves, our neighbors and our country drastically reduce the spread of a horrific pandemic. And, it can be – no, it will be – an opportunity for us to strengthen our faith.
For example, I’m taking my homebound time to catch up on some reading, as I finish an 827-page tome, Underworld, by Don DeLillo. Near the end, he writes, “Sometimes faith needs a sign. There are times when you want to stop working at faith and just be washed in a blowing wind that tells you everything.” I submit that while we must not stop working at faith, we can still be washed in that wind.
Our Governor has today suggested that, as we huddle via social media and other virtual communication to get ourselves through this historic pandemic, we should refrain from grousing about it (was I grousing?) and, instead, share positive stories and outcomes. I am so glad to report that your faith leaders at St. John’s Church are preparing the way for us to do exactly that.
Over the coming days, you can expect to hear about several online opportunities to participate in meetings, small groups, youth and adult formation, bible study and I hope, even Sunday Eucharist together, via a live interactive online gathering called Zoom, and by streaming video at our website. So, let us continue to share the greatest story of all – the story of Jesus, and the greatest outcome of all – his resurrection and promise that we are saved from sin and have life in Him.
Have a Blessed Week!