“It is amazingly good to see you!”
That was the buzz I heard between Central friends coming into the building to worship together a couple weeks ago for in-person worship. You could tell there were big smiles, even behind masks. There was an out-sized joy in the air, even for the few gathered. It struck me as a foretaste of good times ahead for this congregation of ours who works so hard at being “together in Christ, reaching beyond our doors”. But let me take a moment to look at Central’s life over the past year. We’ve had to worship via screens, and not in the same room; funerals have had to be postponed; youth group and confirmation and mission trips deferred; feeding Outreach neighbors has been a catering affair prepared in our kitchen.
But it hasn’t all been bad news. We’ve learned new ways to worship together – in word and music – thanks to our amazing worship production team. Bible study and other book and support groups have yielded surprisingly rich sharing via Zoom. Prayers, spoken together on our devices, have been heart-felt, carrying the Spirit deeply to each other. Support via treasure and time has
faithfully underwritten our ministries. In short, God has shown up in new ways over this pandemic year, Praise be! Our staff has found ways to be innovative. We have continued to be the Church together. And soon we will lean into a new season as the COVID crisis slowly wanes, and more of us feel confident to move about, now vaccinated and breathing warm spring breezes. I wonder, what will be different? How will we share the love of Christ with a deeper awareness that this life together is a gift?
Below is a link to an article I’d like you to read by a Rev. Peter Marty, editor for a great little magazine we subscribe to at Central, The Christian Century. He forecasts some potent learnings that all churches might glean from the pandemic. It’s good advice for Central. Among his findings, all or which I resonate with, I think about how we are called to provide “thick human community”. That means community with strong spiritual underpinnings, calling one another to a life that matters. That means to welcome the stranger back as much as welcoming one another. It also means together standing against forces in our culture that deny life and do harm to the diverse human community.
In the weeks ahead I look forward to seeing more of you in person – in our building and at Church in the Park. I look forward to our embodying our mission in new ways as new staff joina us, and as new opportunities for ministry present themselves. We serve a risen savior whose Resurrection can carry us beyond any pandemic, and who calls us into a future of new wineskins and new possibilities.
It is amazingly good to see you,
CLICK HERE to read the article, “Six predictions for the post-pandemic church”