Thursday, March 26, 2020

In this morning’s New York Times there was an article about what happened when a bar mitzvah couldn’t be held the way the family had planned.  You know – bar (and bas) mitzvahs (the ceremony where a Jewish young person becomes an adult in the eyes of their society) are a REALLY BIG THING.  There’s always a ceremony – it usually takes a year or more to learn all that the young person will have to do, principally recite a chapter from Scripture, in Hebrew.  And there’s a really big party, with family, friends, maybe a band and dancing, and presents.  Kids look forward to this; parents plan (and pay) for it for years.

And the coronavirus called out a halt.  At first, the author says, they hoped just that their family would be able to fly in from across the US before the lockdown, but then they realized that couldn’t happen.  They faced the postponement of the ceremony – but postponement wasn’t as simple as you’d think,  because the Scripture their son had memorized could only be sung on that day.  For a bar mitzvah on another day, he’d have to learn and sing another portion.  Were they going to have to cancel?

And then their rabbi suggested using the internet.  Normally, they don’t use their phones on the Sabbath, but this time, things were different.  The bar mitzvah went on.  Family and friends from all around the world “attended”.  More people were able to be a part of it than they’d originally expected.  

Like that family, the things we’ve expected and planned for have all been turned upside down, and we continue to scramble to create a new reality.  Like them, we first expected one solution and then went to another.  We have had to try things we’ve never tried before.

We still don’t know how long this will be, though it’s increasingly looking as though we’ll not be back in church before May, at the earliest.  

Children are home from school, doing school from home.  Parents who can, work remotely.  I picture everyone gathered around the dining room table, each on their own computer, shushing one another.  Parents who can’t work remotely go into their jobs, still worrying about how their children will do.  Parents who are out of work because of this crisis are worried about paying bills and feeding their families.

Staying home is still the single most effective thing we can do to fight what’s happening.  We can recognize, as the family celebrating the bar mitzvah did, that in the midst of much loss there is much to gain.  Yes, kids are home, yes they’re not in school as we know it.  But there is more to the story; people reach out to help one another.  We share, even TP!  And we remember that we are never alone.

Today’s Scripture reading is Psalm 130:
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! 
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. 
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, 
more than those who watch for the morning. 
O Israel, hope in the Lord! 
For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. 
It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities. 

We remember always the essential work our church continues and ask you to send in your regular offering.  You can set up an automatic payment through your bank, or mail your offering to the church at 5 Gibbs Avenue, Wareham.  

Today’s Prayer List:

  • Those who are confused by varying messages as to what’s safe, who needs to worry
  • Those who have children at home
  • Those who will be returning to Wareham from winter homes in the next few weeks
  • Rich Cotton reports that Donald Hall has moved to Nemasket Healthcare Center, 314 Marion Road, Middleboro MA  02346.  Donald’s kidneys are failing, and he is on hospice care.  In this holy time, he welcomes your cards.  Rich reports he doesn’t yet have a phone.

To add a concern to the daily list, email me at

Blessings always, 
Pastor Virginia