Dear Cathedral Family,
When we began our time of worship together while physically apart, we were concluding our journey through Lent and moving through Holy Week. Much good work took place very quickly at all levels of The Episcopal Church—from bishops and seminaries and individual parishes—to help create together resources for people to worship in new ways at home. We have heard from many of you about the ways you incorporated these practices into your lives.
Now, as we are living in the Great Fifty Days of Easter, we have settled into a new rhythm of daily prayer and Sunday worship. For now, our bishop’s direction for corporate worship extends up to the Day of Pentecost. What our worship will be following that date remains to be seen. I think it is safe to say, given all that we know about the spread of the virus and projections for the months ahead, that we will not suddenly return to some full-scale version of worship life as we knew it in “the before.”
In last Sunday’s sermon, I referred to a statement written by C. S. Lewis in his preface to Mere Christianity. Lewis was writing specifically about each person finding her or his “room” in the great house of God, and he wrote of the “hall,” off of which the doors to those rooms open, as a place where we wait until we find the room where we belong. Most of us have found our room, and we have been as relatively happy as people are capable of being there. But we find ourselves waiting again, neither fully at home in our room nor fully shut out of it.
Lewis has more to say about waiting, and I think his words may offer us some spiritual insight about where we find ourselves now.
…I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must…obey the rules which are common to the whole house.
In our time of waiting, we are not to be idle, although we do need to be still enough to listen for God’s voice and to feel the moving of the Holy Spirit. We carry on with prayer and worship, and we look for the good that we can do in our present reality. And most importantly, we pray for light—for clarity about the essential nature of the life into which God is calling us and for the grace to release those attachments that may hold us back from living fully into our new life.
The Holy Gospel John 12:44-50
Then Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.’