May 11, 2020
Now is as real as then.
I was shocked on Friday to read that the church where I hold membership had decided to not hold worship or gather in person for the next twelve months. Frankly, it seemed defeatist to me… a kind of giving up, declaring that there was no hope.
This morning, however, I began to understand the leadership’s position – even if I still don’t agree with their decision. I was reading an article by the great Lutheran preacher, Nadia Bolz-Weber (you can find it here: https://nadiabolzweber.substack.com/p/optimism-wont-save-mebut-neither. She is consistently profane and profound all at the same time.)
Here’s what Bolz-Weber said: I realize now that when this global pandemic all started, I think I was trying to be as optimistic as possible, believing it the best way to get through. So I told myself, It’s ok to spend a couple weeks at home, because after this we will be able to go to Holy Week Services!
Then it was, “Well…I still can’t wait to preach Pentecost at the Cathedral at the end of May!”
. . . I had hooked my hope on something in the future and as each hope dissolved, I’d find another hook. Until finally, reality sunk in.
The church I belong to found itself in that same, oh we can do this because it’s only for a week, a month, we’ll have Easter, and what about the Church Picnic? And finally, to end all the up and down, the leaders said, nope, not meeting at all, for twelve months – a year of stepping away. I think it was the only way they could get away from that dream of postponing today until we get to some wonderful tomorrow.
But today is all we have, really. Now is just as real, just as important as then will be.
In Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying: So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. And I’m adding, turn that inside out: don’t put off enjoying the good of today in the hopes of a better tomorrow.
Don’t so focus on what you’re missing right now that you miss what’s happening right now. This isn’t the now that we expected; it’s not the now we wanted, but it’s the now we have. We woke up this morning and that was a blessing. We’re learning things that will help us be a stronger church community going forward, if only by being forced to learn how to use Zoom to communicate.
The thing is – while we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we do know that today is here. The sun comes up, we’re alive. We’d like to think that someday we’ll have proper May temperatures <smile>. We have hope that we will gather in worship once more, but we are not pinning that hope on one particular day. When the time is right, when it is safe, when we are ready, then and only then will we worship together again.
Easter blessings, Pastor Virginia