As Sunday approaches, I am filled with joy and anticipation for the beginning of our ministry together in the context of resuming in person worship at St. John’s. Based on a consensus of public health and medical advice, and under the direction of the Bishop, we have made decisions that will minimize the risks of attending church. I have confidence in your patience and understanding as we re-open under strange, but necessary conditions.
The late Rachel Held Evans in her book Searching for Sunday, offered this, “They reminded me that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people. They reminded me that, try as I may, I cannot be a Christian on my own. I need a community. I need the church.”
The pandemic has challenged this notion of being in church as a sufficient act of faith. Being prohibited from doing so has forced all of us, lay and ordained, in Montgomery and beyond, to more actively be the church. Our physical separation does not equate to the diminishment of community but expands how we define our relationships in deeper and more meaningful ways. I think Rachel was suggesting that community is not a product of our presence but the manifestation of our connectedness as beloved people of God.
Whether we are here on Sunday or if we are at home, we are a community of beloved people, who desperately need each other. God has created us for one another, and Jesus came to live, share, eat and speak with God’s people so that we might remind one another of our belovedness. Parts of our community will feel different, parts of our Sunday morning routines will be different and parts of our experience of worship will be different, but God remains unchanged and undoubtedly present in each one of our lives.
We recall the words from Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We can keep our focus on Jesus, and the new life to which we are called. To be grateful and filled with hope seems a good starting point to reconcile the past, pre-Covid church, to the present.
Here are a couple of reminders about Sunday:
- Only two entrances will be unlocked (Madison Ave and the porte cochere door)\
- Please limit your presence to the Nave
- Wear a face-covering
- Please limit gathering and socializing to outside spaces
- No childcare
- No congregational singing
- Livestream available on YouTube and Facebook at 10:30am
May God bless us, keep us and hold us in his hand,