Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A few practical words of the spirit…
There is a pleasant sort of fantasy that many people have of being stranded on a beautiful desert island. A bit like Robinson Crusoe or the the happier parts of the Tom Hank’s movie, “Castaway,” we have contemplated what it might be like to have a calm and peaceful existence in a beautiful place.
Through the years, I have heard people say which books that they would choose to have with them… or even what kind of music that they would like to listen to.
Then, suddenly, most of us have found ourselves in that kind of isolation. The parsonage isn’t as warm, fragrant or sandy as I would picture a desert island to be, but Meg and I do feel a little stranded and isolated. A few months ago, we had hoped to have many people of the congregation over for dinner, but that will have to wait a few months more.
We have all of our books and all of our music. We have food to eat, and many other good things that a desert island would not include (like electric lights, Netflix, and indoor plumbing), but there is that feeling of sudden calm and isolation.
The Bible has many stories of people who experience long stretches of isolation… and it is always seen as having a spiritual value.
Most of us are not as busy and scheduled as usual. It leaves us time to worry and be depressed, but it also gives us time to turn to God and find new ways to cope and enjoy the blessings that we have.
When this time of “social distancing” is done, I will be so happy to worship with others at the church… To sing together, to talk, and to feel that family-belonging-ness that is so much part of church. Think of how blessed that will feel.
But though we are distanced from our brothers and sisters of faith, the distance between us and our heavenly Father can disappear. In the first letter of John, we are reminded that “God is Spirit” and therefore God can be (and is) with us always. Our lack of self-distraction can allow us to get to know God better.
This all leads me to me words from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
And, now a few practical words about daily life…
Remember that many grocery stores can take orders online, so that you can just drive up and have them loaded into your car. Even items that are not stocked on the shelves can still be had this way.
If you don’t have access to the internet, call up me or one of the elders and let us know what items you need… and we can pick them up for you and bring them to your doorstep.
If you want to talk to someone, pick up the phone and call. Remember that we can also use apps like Skype or Zoom that allow us to see each other as we talk. Zoom would also allow for groups to chat. We used Zoom yesterday for confirmation class and it worked beautifully.
Let me know and the church can be available if you want to come in and talk or pray. As long as we limit the number of people and keep about ten feet between us, it would be fine.
If you give me a day’s warning, we could even get a few people together for simple chapel services, but the ten-foot rule will always apply. The most we ought to do would be about five people.
Again, “may you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”