Dear Cathedral Family and Friends,
We pray this week for new beginnings—for the grace to change and grow and to allow God to change us.
We continue to pray for our students—for their teachers, schools and universities, and for their families.
We continue to pray for our community, our nation, and the world—for our leaders, for workers and businesses, for medical workers and hospitals.
In month five of this pandemic, we realize that the “old normal” is past, and even as we lament that passing, we turn our attention to finding our “new normal” for this season. This is the case for school, for work, and for our life together as the Church.
How can those of us who are able best begin the process of phasing toward in-person worship and gathering while still maintaining shared life and experience with those of us who cannot safely do so? Put another way: how can we strengthen our unity as the Body of Christ and our care for one another while still acknowledging and honoring our different situations, needs, and abilities?
And, taking another perspective: how can we help our community, nation, and world move toward healing and wholeness?
These are working considerations right now not only for our cathedral staff and vestry and myself, but also for diocesan clergy and our bishop. Regular clergy meetings with our bishop resumed this week after some time “away” in July. Bishop Russell shared with us the conversation that took place this week between the Episcopal House of Bishops and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The key points of this conversation have direct bearing on the questions posed above. None of this is new information, but it is worthy of attention as we continue our planning:
Everyone wear masks when around others outside your household. This continues to be proven as one of the best ways to limit spread of the virus.
Outdoors is better than indoors. There is little evidence of “superspreader” events outside, when wearing masks and distancing are also observed.
Open doors and window whenever possible. Good ventilation and fresh moving air deter spread.
How can we help?
Remember (and gently convey to others) that science is not an obstacle to our gathering, but a gateway leading in to safe worship.
Remember that this will end. In order to live today in such a way as to hasten that eventuality, we can avoid two pitfalls:
Don’t be defeated and give up—“take heart” that we will eventually go back to worshiping as we did.
Don’t pretend you live in a vacuum and therefore fail to take precautions. The more vigilant and careful we are now, the sooner we will get to the place we want to be.
I have been reflecting and praying this week with Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Padraig O Tuama. I have found parts of the “prayers in time of change” helpful:
God of Yesterday,
we knew you then:
your promises; your words;
your walking among us.
But yesterday is gone.
And so, today, we are in need of change.
and change us,
Help us see life now
not through yesterday’s stories
but through today’s.
You changed your mind.
And we, too, change our minds
We want to change
Change with us
you want to.
Our gospel reading for this Sunday is all about change and healing—of heart and mind and body, and of ways of living and being together. God is with us, loving us into His new creation.
May you know God’s peace,