Welcome to the Monday Mailing Vol 2, Ed 11 –
52 Weeks. . .
This week marks week 52. . .what a year! We were just learning about the Virus at this time last year, and were convinced that if we simply (things are rarely simple) washed our hands, wore a mask and stayed at a distance, we would be back to “normal” (whatever that is. . .or, as we like to say, normal is just a setting on the dryer) by summer.
Summer drifted by, and promises about a vaccine began to surface. Experts tell us that if we want to take on a new habit, then we need to do it for at least 21 days straight before it can become a true habit. If that was the case, we should have been proficient at this Safe-at-Home stuff. . .but a lot of us aren’t. Over the summer and into the fall some of us truly began wrestling with depression, and the longings for “normal” got even deeper. The holidays came and we mourned and lamented the loss of things which were important to us – gathering in person. Questions about our “pods” and how far “our” pod truly stretches became the game du jour.
And now we are in the midst of Lent, for a second time, checking off the “we made it a year” box on the things we never knew we would count. We are a curious mixture of the vaccinated, the half-vaxed, and the waiting. I got my first shot this morning. Headache. . .and chills. . .and I hope that is the worst. Questions about can we gather, should we gather, is it right to limit who can gather are beginning to float around. And I feel stretched.
Stretched by the overall deaths of this evil. Stretched by the grief that washes over me, and so many others as we try to share the love of Christ with those who mourn. Stretched by those who are anti-maskers and anti-vaxers. Stretched by . . . fill in the blank. We wish for normal, but know that going back to normal really isn’t the way for the church to move.
Carl Vaters, in a February 26, 2021 blog post suggested a series of questions the church might look at answering as we look forward to this stretching season to be over. I post the questions here, and you can read his answers on the post on the HUPC Facebook page or from this link: https://karlvaters.com/will-the-congregation-come-back/?fbclid=IwAR0lBfDq4ByLLtDlsAhfYB lNw6qSMGBrbavSllj4jmT5UeRmsoDk6trY57k .
- “Have we represented Jesus well during the lockdown?”
- “Are we representing Jesus well as we come out of the lockdown?”
- “What have we learned – and what are we still learning?”
- “How can we better serve the people at home?”
- “How well are we serving our online church members and visitors?”
- “How are people hurting, and what can we do to help them?”
Vaters suggests: Whether people come back through our church doors is not the big issue. How we honor Jesus by reaching the hurting people outside our doors is what matters. Ministry needs to happen from the church, not just in the church.