Spreading Our Wings

Weekly Reflection, Friday, August 6

By: Kitty Williams

The pandemic was not 17 years long. Really!

For some of us, though, it felt like we had burrowed many feet underground like those 17-year cicadas. At other times, we drew the curtains and wrapped ourselves tightly in blankets, as if in cocoons, like caterpillars. In order to stay safe, we entered a kind of suspended animation similar to that endured by our insect brothers and sisters.

At first, it was hard to imagine that we would ever again join the cicada chorus, the floating butterfly ballet — or our dear church community.

As humans, we yearn for connection with one another. As humans during the pandemic, we learned just how powerful that yearning is. So, we were resourceful. We socialized from opposite sides of driveways, met by conference calls, and discussed books on Zoom.
The obstacles gradually turned into stepping stones and bridges. From our gardens and our living rooms and our porches, we read the lessons and prayers, played instruments and sang. We emailed our video files to Ashley Cameron, who figured out how to piece them together into gorgeous crazy quilts: the pre-recorded St. Mary’s worship services on YouTube and Facebook.

We saw each other face-to-face, where we lived, albeit through computer screens. The 9 o’clock and the 11 o’clock congregations — and distant friends — came together in ways that were both alien and intimate. We were deeply moved by the prayers and preaching, smiled at the out-takes, and caught glimpses of Rachmaninov (Rocky) the musical marmalade cat.

Now we are out in the open air again, our wings unfurling and our voices being heard in chorus. The danger isn’t behind us, but we have a new understanding of the preciousness of community, and of our importance to it.

What next?

The temptation is enormous to slide back into a routine, taking it for granted that someone else will keep the momentum going. Someone else will handle the details.

That would be a tragic waste. We have discovered in ourselves new powers, both practical and emotional. We have found the courage to try new things.

Attending services in person, to be inspired, stimulated, and refreshed, is beyond priceless. But each of us brings gifts as well, “according to the grace given to us,” as Paul writes in his Epistle to the Romans.

Your own particular gifts (yes, yours!) are vital to the health and vibrancy of our St. Mary’s. One gift you could consider giving is to volunteer as an usher.

It’s not that complicated. Ushers greet new visitors and old hands, keep things moving smoothly, and generally keep an eye on things during the service, in case anyone needs help – or directions to the rest room. It’s a bit like welcoming friends into your own home.

St. Mary’s has a team of seasoned ushers who will gladly take you into their ranks. Training, virtual and in-person, will be available.

The first training session will be a brown bag lunch at St. Mary’s at noon on August 19. The church will provide coffee, iced tea, and lemonade.

Do join us! Let us know when you’d like to serve – 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. – and anything else we need to know. If you can’t make it on August 19 for training, we can work with you to bring you up to speed.

Call Elizabeth in the church office to let her know you’d like to attend the training. We hope to see you there!