Weekly Reflection, Friday, April 23
By: David H. May, Rector
As best I can remember, some time last summer I decided to stop looking at what other parishes were doing about this or that in response to the pandemic. I decided that we needed to find our own voice and follow our own path as best we could. More recently, for example, some parishes started meeting in person for worship before we did. We’ve all had to find our own path through this wilderness.
Our path has led us to a place where we can begin to regather for worship. In person. Indoors. In our church. Are we late in getting to this place? Or too early? My hope is that we are right on time.
So, it’s time to begin regathering which I don’t think is going to happen in one fell swoop. But it’s time to begin. Our first indoor worship service will be Noonday Prayers this coming Wednesday in Little St. Mary’s. The next will be Sunday morning, May 2, at 10 a.m. in New St. Mary’s. We still have to limit numbers and follow health safety guidelines. But it’s time to begin coming back together. The Sunday following that, May 9, Bishop Goff will be here for three services. At the first two (at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.) we will only be able to accommodate the confirmands and four members of their families. Which I don’t love, but we will live-stream both services. We are offering a third service at 1:30 p.m. that day that is open for 35-40 households to pre-register. It is an odd time and that is Mother’s Day, but it’s important for us to offer this opportunity.
And from there, we will offer Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. in New St. Mary’s for 35-40 households. As we move into the next months, my hope is that the number who can register will get larger. In the meantime, if there is a need, we can surely add a second Sunday morning service.
Now is the time for us to begin regathering. I don’t have all the answers for all the questions about how that will happen. But it’s time. It feels like we have been in exile, like the children of Israel in Babylon. Like them, a time came for the Lord to lead them home.
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth….” (43:5-6)
We are not dwelling at ‘the end of the earth’ apart from one another but we might as well be. But that time is passing away. It is time for us to begin to be led back together. It is time, thanks be to God.