This has been an energizing and full week as new members of the cathedral staff have begun working to plan for our upcoming program year. The Reverend Eric Zubler and organist and music director Elizabeth Bemis have plunged enthusiastically into their work, and we are all happy and blessed to be working along with them.
This week our prayers continue for all health care workers in our community, as they carry on their selfless service during the present surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. The mayor and Mobile City Council have asked, in addition to prayers, for houses of worship to toll their bells at noon each day for the next week, and we are doing that, as well.
We also continue our prayers for all students and teachers and their families as the school year gets underway in the midst of this ongoing health crisis. It is “the little ones,” who are unable to be vaccinated, who are most vulnerable now. We pray that school leaders may be guided to wise decisions for the safety and health of all who learn and teach in our community. This is a season in which families are exercising extra care to ensure that the school year goes well and kids remain healthy and in school. Please keep our children and parents in your prayers right now, as we continue to pray for a time soon when we can all be together again safely.
In a message to diocesan clergy and lay leaders this week, our bishop expressed concern for the welfare of these little ones in asking congregations to continue wearing masks at all indoor gatherings. He has set September 6 as the next point at which we will reconsider our protocols. I am thankful for your understanding and willingness to act in love and consideration for the most vulnerable by wearing masks and exercising extra care in our in-person gatherings.
Our gospel lesson this Sunday highlights the challenge that the “difficult teaching” of Jesus presented for his first followers. Some went away when they found that the way of Jesus was too hard or asked too much of them. We know the feeling of being weary or overtaxed by life’s challenges. We know how it feels to think we can’t give more or do more. When Jesus asked Peter if he, too, would go away, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” We want to have Peter’s faith, his conviction that following Jesus is the only way, the one, true way. His faith is our faith, as we continue to walk together as followers of Jesus in these present times.