It seems like people were still making jokes about the Coronavirus a few weeks ago, and now here we are, with more than 350,000 cases worldwide and many deaths. Schools, restaurants, and even church buildings are closed in hopes of flattening the curve, and we're all wondering about the future. We are worried about so much, everything from "Will I lose someone I love?" to "Can our economy recover?" Many people are wondering, "After this passes, will things go back to normal?"
I've been praying and pondering so much, and as you can expect, wondering how I can best help all of you through this while also leading the church. There is so much I could do with my time, but as I have prayed, the first and still continuing theme that I believe God keeps bringing to my mind is "connection."
1. Between people
Yes. Between people. I see this every time I'm out walking my Simmy... people who would have never said anything in the past are now saying "hi." People driving in cars, which seems rather strange now, are waving as they go by. Neighbors are talking from across the street; it's funny how it goes, they practically have to yell. It seems like we're longing for connection, and yet this need for social distancing is necessary and so very painful.
We were made for connection, and this situation has most of us thinking much more intentionally about how we're going to make it through this time. Recently, Reverend Sue Nilson-Kibbey said in a training day with my MCCI cohort,
"Anything can become a tool in the hand of the Divine."
So, I keep watching for how this will come to fruition, for the many ways that God will use these circumstances to teach us, train us, even re-tool us. For one, maybe we have taken our opportunity for connection for granted. Now that it's not so easy, we notice with poignant memories how much we truly do need each other.
At the church, we started to develop something we're calling "Weaving the Net." It's a network for connection and care. Some people, designated as connectors will call, text, email, whatever it takes, to be sure everyone is connected. It goes back to the strings with knots that we handed out and talked about when I first started here, in July of 2018. It was all about how God wanted to weave us, our unique lives and journeys, together into wonderful, useful things ... in particular, the sermon on July 15, 2018. (But the whole series was all of July 2018, if you're really interested.)
It was an early goal, identified as a clear need in our church through the prayer, conversations and research during the 6 months prior that I knew I would be coming to you. But once I got into the church, the week-to-week work of every church, the business decisions, conflict management, crisis handling, and complaint department, became overwhelming, and for the most part, forming deliberate connections in our community got lost. I think God is prioritizing this now, because it seems that to get through this, our connections will be the most important thing.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Romans 12:4-5 (New Living Translation)
"We are all many parts of one body and we all belong to each other."
2. With God... coming soon :-). I have lots of thoughts about this.
But for now, I have some questions (because this is the coolest part about blogs):
What's happening in your life right now? Are you still in the public (maybe necessarily working) and overwhelmed with people? Or, are you mostly home bound and longing for social interaction?
How has this caused you to think about connections? Has it challenged or changed your views? Has it brought up new thoughts or ideas?
What are you noticing in your community, your relationships?
Are there people that God may be nudging you to contact or check on right now?
May God lead you to the connections you (and they) need - just the right ones - that the presence and peace of God will surround you no matter what.
Take care, please ... and
much love to you all,