Weekly Reflection, Sunday, September 13, 2020
By: David May
Lord, may the words that we hear be your words.
Many of us will recognize these words as the prayer Bob Hetherington prayed from the pulpit before preaching on Sunday mornings. This simple prayer called us to listen for God through the words of the sermon we were about to hear.
Our Vestry and parish leadership are right in the middle of an amazing initiative in our parish where we are seeking God together and listening for God’s words through each other’s words. Beginning this past week, the Vestry began hosting 17 Zoom call meetings with all the ministry groups and committees of the parish. It is a huge and, I think, important undertaking. After such a long time away from each other – and likely a long time still to go – the Vestry has set out to engage with our congregation ministry by ministry.
For these meetings, members of each ministry group or committee are being asked to consider two questions and share their thoughts. The questions are: What is COVID-19 teaching you/us? and, What do you want to do about that? The hope with these questions is that in this extraordinary time we are living in, we are being pressed to clarify what matters most, what our core values really are, and how those insights will lead us to live our lives especially as followers of Jesus Christ. What kind of a Church is God calling us to be now?
As I write this, we have already held our first five meetings. It has been so good just to see one another and to talk with one another. One of the things that COVID-19 is teaching me is that I am just terrible at being a person on my own! God has made us to need one another. The conversations have been deep and funny and serious and moving. And in all of that, we are listening for God and how God is moving in our lives.
My conviction and hope is that when these 17 meetings are complete, we will see that God has been using these conversations to shape a vision of hope for us as we go forward into this strange, new world.
Later this month, we want to expand these conversations to our whole congregation. We are planning for three or four Zoom Webinars. You will be able to sign up for the one most convenient for you and we’ll be glad to give you plenty of instructions on how to do this! These webinars will include a sort of ‘state of the parish’ report from the Vestry, a report on the themes that have emerged from these 17 Zoom call meetings, and a time to receive questions or comments. The meeting will conclude with the vision that we have heard from God to go forward together with hope—always hope. And the prayer we began with, ‘Lord, may the words that we hear be your words,’ will give way to a new prayer: ‘Lord, may the work that we do be your work’.