UPDATE 5/4/2020: Read the most recent statement by Bishop Mariann Budde, outlining a 4-phase plan, as developed by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. This plan goes as far as possible at present to answer the frequently asked question, “When will we be able to regather?”
Please note that many St. Mark’s gatherings, including Sunday worship, are now taking place online. See details and get links, below.
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I fell in to it; I sent a Facebook live on the St. Mark’s page, reminding people we are not able to gather on the 15th of March and that I was praying for folks and letting them know that we all could watch the live stream from Washington National Cathedral and we would all worship together. I have been doing them ever since. They are short and people seem to like them, they find them helpful, and I am mostly pretty chipper in them.
I am never totally sure what I will say in them, I mostly go off the cuff. I was wearing different eyeglasses as a prop talking about them. I found that I have seven different pairs that I was willing to wear on camera. And now I am on to ball caps.
Last week I wore one that had Banff Soul Ski and Bike. I bought it last fall in Banff, Alberta, Canada, when Michelle and I spent time with our Best couple, Bill and Emily.
Seeing things with new eyes.
This gospel of Jesus is calling us to hear with new ears and to see the world anew.
There is a forging of people when there is Change.
There is no way that Lazarus was not changed by his death and resuscitation
There is no way that Martha was not Changed
There is no way that Mary was not Changed
There is no way that the disciples were not Changed
There is no way that we are not Changed by the disruption of the way WE ALL move through society.
We can pretend this is just a subtle shift in the way we are going about our time together, but it is not. We all have too much time to think about our lives, our patterns, our expectations, and we cannot fill up all that time with the business of work. We actually cannot fill up our time with our families trying out a new restaurant, going on a trip, meeting and hanging out with new people.
We are left with a change that we do not know what it is.
Every year we get swept up into the story of Jesus’s last week on earth, and if we don’t have that we are swept up in the story of our family coming to dinner, and we need to set the table, have food that everyone likes, and make the connections.
This year we do not have that ability; it will be different. I know some of you will be spending the first Easter of your life without friends and family around a table. I know it is difficult but that is the way we will not spread this around. So fight the urge to gather, stay the six feet away from one another.
We are doing everything in our power to keep each other safe and we need to keep doing it. We will be different on the other side of this.
The Disciples, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus all come out different on the other side of this, what happens to them here informs who they will become and how they carry the message forward.
We will not go back to how it all was because it will be different, unseen. We will be different people; our time in isolation will change us.
Our work is what eyes will we see anew, what ears will we hear anew.
In Banff I was shocked that Lake Louise had become so inaccessible, and yet, seeing it through Bill’s eyes, the delight that he had made all the people looking for the perfect Instagram post worth the trouble. That delight is what I remember and am changed by; it is the good that I remember and I am reminded to look for the good.
So as we navigate our time, as we move to Easter and a time that we are out of this Stay order, what can we learn, what do we appreciate? What new will come out of it, for me? I hope to be more courageous and to share that courage with others.
Prayer for Courage from the Corrymeela community in Ireland
Courage comes from the heart
and we are always welcomed by God,
the heart of all being.
We bear witness to our faith,
knowing that we are called
to live lives of courage,
love and reconciliation
in the ordinary and extraordinary
moments of each day.
We bear witness, too, to our failures
and our complicity in the fractures of
May we be courageous today.
May we learn today.
May we love today.