As I journey with everyone else on the Covid-19 journey, I have found myself spending even more time in prayer and reflection. I have had an image that has been with me for about two weeks now and so I thought I would share it and where it has taken me.
The image is of Jesus sitting on a grassy picnic spot smiling. He said, “Welcome home. Welcome back”. What I have heard, and has come to my heart is that we have been given an opportunity to return to a much simpler way of being, the way Jesus began. Jesus was not concerned about how to pay for a new roof or organ. He was not concerned about having the best program or if the reader read well. That is more competition. His message was simple. He was, and I believe still is, concerned about relationships. How are we with one another? Are we compassionate? What does that even mean anyway and what does it look like? Do we truly love one another as Christ loves us? If I am to be honest, there are times when I am not as loving and as kind as I could be or as Jesus would want of me.
This brings me to reflect on organized religion. As church organizations have closed their buildings around the country and the world, how has this closure brought us closer to God? In what ways have we been faithful to the Spirit? What does being faithful to the Spirit mean? How does worshipping in a building become a barrier to being faithful to the Spirit? How is it helpful? What have we learned as we have not been able to gather in person? These are just a few questions that I have pondered over the past few weeks. Perhaps it is because I am a deacon and my ministry is in the world, that I wonder about these things. I have often been able to see barriers that keep us from really loving our neighbors as we are called to do.
I love the Episcopal Church because of how socially oriented it is. I like that it allows us to live into the questions and doesn’t tell us what to think. We are an active group of folk. I also am concerned about the barriers and know that it is important to find ways to remove them so we can be more of who we are called to be.
I hope that we will soon be able to gather as a community again. I have not missed the buildings, but I have missed interacting face to face with all of you from all the communities I am part of.
I am not sure Jesus means for us to worship only outdoors on the lawn at a picnic area, as that is not practical in all sorts of weather. But the actions taken to keep us all safe does move me to reflect on how we might have a simpler way of being church so that we can be more faithful to the Spirit that leads us. How do we return to valuing relationships more than a building and/or all the trappings, as beautiful as they can be? Will we return to things as they were?
Just a few thoughts from a deacon…
With love to all,