Our goal is to be a sign of God’s love and healing as we are called to adapt to new situations
Dear Friends and Parishioners:
We are living through extraordinary times that have cast a long and deep shadow over our lives. We are inundated with science and statistics about an invisible and potentially deadly threat that lingers in the space between us. We have been called upon to help each other by avoiding each other and we have come to be suspicious of casual contacts and simple pleasures. We know that the situation is changing each day as we seek to navigate these uncharted waters.
In this context some churches have decided to shut down in deference to health concerns. We have already heard of nearby clergy who have contracted the virus. In this light, it is an understandable virtue to practice temporary social distancing. Yet it is also a virtue to hear the Word of God and to come together to say prayers for healing, peace and guidance.
In meeting with some of the leaders of the parish, we discussed these complex and contradictory demands. It was decided that we will open our doors to worshippers on Sunday but will avoid certain rituals of our worship. To that end, we will not pass the peace by shaking hands. Rather we suggest that we simply nod to each other, perhaps with folded hands in an Asian-Namaste-like style. We will not distribute communion and when we leave the church, we will not stop to greet the clergy at the door.
Today I will be finalizing the liturgy as there are still some decisions to be made on what we will do. Of course, as before, we ask that if you have any idea that you might be sick or not feeling well, that you stay home.
Our goal is to be a sign of God’s love and healing. But we also know that we are called to use our minds to adapt to new situations to the best of our ability. Jesus speaks about using our perceptions and our logical capacities. We definitely need all of them now.
With God’s grace, our prayer is that we will all make it through this time of trial. We pray that all of our efforts will minimize the dangers and that the virus will recede sooner than expected. We pray for the sick and the suffering, the fearful and the vulnerable. We pray that we will all find a deeper level of faith and love as we go through this present darkness. We pray for wisdom and healing!
May God grant you strength and courage in the days ahead!