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A Note from the Rector - November 12, 2020

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A Note from the Rector - November 12, 2020

Dear Friends, 

The snow is on the ground and colder temperatures have arrived with it.  COVID-19 cases in the state and worldwide are steadily increasing, putting very real stress on frontline caregivers in hospitals, senior living homes, and homes of every kind.  Winter brings its own challenges for many: greater isolation, loneliness, depression, and the normal colds and flu.  I said in my last letter that I was aware of weariness being apparent in our world.  That remains along with frustration, short tempers, and sagging emotional reserves right when we could use them most.  Our communications are more difficult when not in person, and our message fails before we know it.  While the hope of an effective vaccine may come with the new year, the present times weigh on us, especially with those who have lost loved ones and as we are asked to reduce our gatherings even more.  

Our willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good has never been greater, at least not in my lifetime.  I hear the echo of the Apostle Paul’s words, “let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)  Now is not the time in our wilderness journey to race back to Egypt and Pharaoh, so we can feel like things are getting back to normal.  No, now is the time to draw on our spiritual life and our spiritual reserves to stay the course, help one another along, and bear one another’s burdens.  God’s love remains at the center of our journey.  Again, as Paul says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) 

It is in this spirit that I have made the decision to keep our church buildings closed and our worship online in a virtual way through Christmas and likely into the new year.  None of us wants this, but part of caring is recognizing our limitations and what manna looks like in our own day.  While not perfect and certainly void of the physical touches of in person gatherings, our ability to use technology is in a way a form of manna in this wilderness.  Making the decision now allows the staff and me to focus our creative energies on a way for as many of us as possible to still enter the season of Advent, be heartened by Lessons and Carols, and to celebrate Christmas near and far.  I am asking everyone to open their hearts and minds to this endeavor and to keep all of us in prayer as we acknowledge that this year will continue to be unlike years past.  Even so, it need not be devoid of meaning and joy, kindness, and hope.  No, it is often during such hard times that the love of God shines most brightly, in things thought to be ordinary and yet revealed by God’s grace to be instead a sacrament where we thought only darkness reigned. 

The letters of the New Testament speak to us in a different way in times like these.  Suddenly they are more personal, more real.  Perhaps it is because we are more open to them and yearning for their nourishment in our souls.  Lift your heads, look around.  You do not travel alone.  Our community lives, dispersed but not broken.  Advent is coming with its awe and wonder in the midst of hard times!  God moves before us.  Let us stay the course, together, in love. 

Faithfully with you on the way,