This past Sunday was the Fourth Sunday in Lent. It was also the second Sunday without congregations gathering together in person for public worship. As far as a name for a liturgical season goes, that’s a mouth full. But before this day arrived my family, like yours, was confronted with life in the age of social distancing. Each day seemingly bringing with it new restrictions on movement. I want to be clear, I am not complaining. I am grateful for the ever present reminder that our lives are knit together with those whom we know dearly and those whom we will never meet. COVID-19 did not make this true, but it has reminded us of this truth. So if restrictions on movement mean care for my brother and sister, then I can accept that.
Again, I am not complaining; and if I say it enough then I’m sure you’ll believe me. Gratitude aside, however, this new temporary life has had its challenges, especially with three kids under the age of 6 in the house. I am sure you have had your challenges as well and they may look very different than mine. The biggest challenge for me has been the loss of a routine. My routines each day are what helped me most clearly understand my purpose and meaning for each day and week. A break is nice every once in a while, but a break with no end in sight is what makes me shovel snow for days on end (see last week’s post for reference). But, as those that I deem to be much wiser than I have said, times like these present us with opportunities, chances to see our world and circumstances differently. A lesson our gospel passage this past Sunday spoke to us about.
In my home, we have found new routines during this time. There is one I wish to share with you: This past Sunday my family and I had church. My kids had Sunday school via Zoom with many of St. Paul’s children. Then we as a family “went” to church via the National Cathedral’s live broadcast of their 11:15am service. Aleea, Hazel, and Lucas played quietly on the rug in our living room. Laurie and I stood and sat and sang, and my oldest even began (unprompted) saying along portions of the Nicene Creed that she’s picked up from hearing us all say together. It wasn’t church with all of you, but it was church and worship with thousands of God’s children; it was the Body of Christ in our living room. I was surprised at how connected I felt to God and my world around me in that moment. I thought I could only have those feeling when I’m physically surrounded with others in worship. If this is what our worship must be while we are practicing social distancing, than I am grateful for this opportunity for this new routine. I am exceedingly grateful for the reminder that God will always surprise us if we have eyes to see God with us. I pray each of you are finding meaning in these days. And if you find yourself stressed and complaining, which I totally wasn’t doing earlier, it’s ok; God is still present, inviting us to see grace all around. I will continue to pray for all of us and I ask you to continue your prayers for me, my family and all of St. Paul’s. May God’s peace remain with you now and always.
The Rev. Adam Pierce