18 Mar St. Patrick & Our New Reality
Friends, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In our new Coronavirus-driven reality, today is unfolding as an unprecedented observance of this day that commemorates the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Many gathering places that would typically be jam-packed with people wearing green and sporting shamrock-shaped glasses or funny hats will be empty and silent. So, I hope you will find ways at home to share a festive moment and say a prayer of thanks for our faith and for all those who risked so much through the ages to pass it on to others.
We continue to follow the latest developments of the Coronavirus. If you have seen the news of the past 24 hours, you know that the White House recommends that “social distancing” now means limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people. It is also becoming clear that the new limits will last much longer than originally anticipated.
I am struggling with the ramifications of all of this for the Church Universal and for Calvary in particular. What does it mean for us to be the church in the midst of a global pandemic? On the one hand, it is critical that we are good world citizens, that we do our part to mitigate the spread of this disease. Since the health and safety of our beloved Calvary community is of utmost importance, following directives from our national and state health officials is not negotiable.
Having said that, I am deeply troubled that our doors are closed precisely when people crave what the church is best equipped to offer—peace in difficult times, prayers with and for one another, comfort and presence when people are sick or anxious. I am not alone in my concerns. Pastors around the country and across all denominations are voicing similar unease. If there is any consolation in this, it is that we are all in this together, and we will learn from one another as churches experiment with new ways to stay connected, share prayer concerns, continue ministry, and worship together.
Barbara and I are in the church office today and our plan is to maintain a fairly normal work schedule, unless and until circumstances change that force us to adjust. Jenny is working diligently to enhance our communications and find creative ways for us to stay connected. As we develop a “new normal,” let us continue to reach out to one another and to pray for our community and our world. In other words, let us be the church wherever we are today, sharing the love of Christ as we care for one and all.
Missing you already, Calvary!