By Helen Reed, Presider, Chinook Winds Region
This morning, a song from my childhood popped into my head. It’s a song that celebrates the happiness brought by sunshine and enjoying the freedom of being outside in the sun.
I looked up the song to get the words right and learned it was written in 1932. The fun part I remembered was good but, right in the middle of the song is language that was acceptable then, that is definitely not now! How we sometimes yearn for what was only to find that it just doesn’t fit anymore.
The sun has begun to shine in Alberta and we find ourselves trying to get out into it with great excitement. But it’s not the same. Because something has changed. We can’t meet with a bunch of friends. Even family groups are limited in size and must still physically distance. We are being asked, encouraged, and, yes, told that what was is no longer acceptable.
We want things to go back to what they were before COVID-19 snuck through our defences. As churches, some have begun to consider how we might go back into our buildings but those who are caring for us are telling us that could be some time yet. This virus doesn’t count how many are in a room before it pounces. We are learning that one of our most favourite church activities, singing, may have to look and sound different for a while yet. We are learning that church isn’t necessarily the building but the amazing people who will rise to the challenge of caring for everyone.
Even as stores have permission to open, there are many people who are not yet willing to leave the sanctuary of their homes until they feel safe again. We know that this storm is not yet over and yet we yearn to peek out of our doors and celebrate the brightness of life.
What a world.
Last week, one of the scriptures for Good Shepherd week was John 10:1-10. In this vision of Jesus as both Shepherd who knows us and the Gate that lets us out and keeps us in, we might be reminded that timing is everything. If we are patient and listen for those voices who will call us by our name; remind us of the importance of acting together to stay safe; watch for the danger sneaking through the fence; to follow the one who tells us that there are times to be together and times to be called apart then all will be well.
Instead of what we can’t do… let’s look at what we can do.
We can go out into the sunshine – just not hugging our neighbour. We can continue to enjoy the new ways of being in contact with each other… online worship, phone call connections, bulletins delivered. We can remember that, with faith, with newness of words, newness of relationships we can move forward powered by love for all of God’s people.
Let’s get as close as we can to The Christ who holds us together, who reminds us that we need to watch out for each other – and that, as we are discovering, is a lot harder than we thought.
Helen Reed Presider, Chinook Winds Region