Christian hope

The news that we will be worshipping “on-line” only for the next two months, through Holy Week and Easter was unsettling and disorienting. In my heart there is a powerful sense of grief and loss, even as I know that it is one disruption among many others that people are facing. It is still loss—my loss, our loss. 

As a citizen, I know that cancelling all in-person events contributes to the public health. I wonder what other contributions I and we can make. I wonder how to continue to be the church in the world even as we are strongly being urged to avoid gathering in public spaces. 

As your rector, I am blessed to be in ministry with a faithful staff and dedicated lay leaders. Each of these people have been working long hours to keep our church moving forward, whether in worship, education, training or pastoral care. I am confident that we will continue to be the church, to grow in faith, and come through this stronger. 

As in-person worship was suspended and the office closed, in the midst of all the new technology we are using for worship and conversation, your deacons began an old-fashioned phone tree with the simple goal of “checking in.” 

How are you doing? How is your family? Do you need anything?

Those who have made calls so far report these conversations have been a blessing and a delight, a gift. That is how God has chosen to work, through each of us

Many of you have asked how I am, and I appreciate your concern.

In addition to being your rector, I am also a sister, mother and daughter. My sister lost her beloved dog this week and is wondering to whether keep, cancel or reschedule events around my nephew’s wedding. I was supposed to be flying to Oklahoma to be with two of my children this weekend, plans we all agreed were better postponed. My parents live in a continuing care retirement facility that “locked down” before I could see them last week. They are eighty years young, healthy and quite confident about “riding this out.” On my better days I only wonder when I will be able to see any of them again. Darker thoughts shift to if…  

I cannot afford to linger in that “if,” and neither can any of us. I am not advocating cheery optimism, but rather classic Christian hope. Hope that doesn’t disappoint, as Emily Badgett spoke of so powerfully on Sunday. Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:5). It not up to us, we don’t have to generate it, we just have to be open to receive it. 

“Checking in” is one of those ways. Perhaps sending cards is another. Coming together for worship online offers praise to God and equips us for the work we have been given to do in Jesus name. 

Please, when you get a phone message from someone at All Saints’, call or text them back so they know if got through. You may be exactly the person they need to hear from!