The Israelites and Us ...
February 24, 2021
Pastor Timothy Hogan-Palazzo
Dear Faith Family,
Lent, a season of waiting, a season of reflection, a season of preparation. Lent is a season of change.
Ecclesiastes three begins: “There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens…” The text goes on giving times and season references for a multitude of life’s events, affirming for everything there is a season. Even in this season of the pandemic there is time.
It seems to me that in this season, in this year particularly, we are seeking and searching extra hard to discover what changes are awaiting our future. Will we soon be able to get back together in worship, who will be gathering with us when we meet for worship? I know some are beginning to cry out as the Israelites in slavery, and wonder “how long O Lord, how long will you let your people suffer?” Believe me, I see and hear and feel your prayers as well.
This time is hard on all of us. We are coming to the end of winter, to the one-year anniversary of a pandemic-style virtual worship, and we are getting tired, just missing one another and hoping to soon return to whatever a new normal will look like.
I wanted to write today to share with you, your Pastor and Consistory know your longing, we share your longing. While infection rates are falling, we still have questions to answer, how will we come back together? How many can gather at one time? What are the requirements and restrictions around our meeting together?
While many precautions have been put in place, we hope and pray they are enough to keep us all safe when we do gather. We have sanitizers, thermometers, special cleaners and air filters already installed. We have volunteer medical professionals and community organizers to help coordinate changes that need to occur, and most of all we have one another on the journey. We are not alone.
Later this week our “Way Forward” Team, including members of staff, consistory, medical professionals and community representatives will gather to review plans, advise and seek ways that we may design a return to worship and what that will look like along with options of place and time.
The season has seemed long and drawn out, our hearts have experienced highs and lows and yet have longed to reconnect in community worship. While no plan will be foolproof and perfect, we do recognize the longing and weigh emotional health and physical health needs.
Please bear with us a little longer, please hold the leadership teams in your prayers as we work to discern our best way forward for this community of faith, through thoughtful examination and of the best data and information we may have available. As Earl Fisher says every week at the closing of our LIVE Stream service. “Stay safe, stay well and trust us, we will be together again when it is safe to do so.” And I say to you, for everything there is a season. And this season too shall pass, and we shall gather together again.