Weekly Lifelines 6/3/21

What a joy it was to worship together indoors last Sunday morning!  

If I’m being honest, I was pretty nervous about the transition back to indoor worship. Sunday morning felt a little like the first Eucharist I ever presided over, more than a decade ago. There are so many details to attend to in our liturgy that, even with the outdoor services, I found myself a little out of practice. Thankfully, just like falling off a bike, it didn’t take long to get back in the groove.  

At the service, almost everyone wore masks. In contrast, a number of times in the past week or so I’ve found myself amidst a bunch of unmasked people. It’s been both good and weird. I’m so used to being a little wary of unmasked folks that being in even a partially-unmasked crowd still feels very strange indeed. Just seeing the bottom half of faces is a little odd. But recalling how we adapted to the initial discomfort and isolation when mask-wearing started comforts me with the knowledge that we will certainly get used to this, too (and probably much more quickly).  

In an article last month, Diana Butler Bass wrote that rather than closing in on the end of the pandemic, _____“we are nearing the end of the beginning. Millions of Americans are vaccine-hesitant (or vaccine-denying), and billions of people around the planet are suffering from resurgent strains, lack of adequate medical intervention, and no vaccines. COVID isn’t through with us yet, even while here in the United States, we see a bit of light on the horizon. _____Instead of navigating all those unknowns, it seems a wiser course to focus on what we do know. And what we know is what we’ve been through—and how we are continuing to struggle.”  

At St. Luke’s we are working on returning to some form of pre-pandemic normal. This week’s indoor worship services are a step in that direction. And we still have a long way to go. We aren’t navigating the weirdness of church on Zoom anymore. Instead we’re navigating the weirdness of in-person worship amidst ever-evolving and occasionally-unclear rules for in-person interactions. If this phase of pandemic life is anything like the last one, we will continue to work together to build something good and life-giving. That is the work that God calls us to, pandemic or not.  

To that end, would you please take a minute to fill out this survey? I’m struggling to discern how best to craft our ever-evolving guidelines for pandemic safety, and your input would be a big help. Specifically, I’m curious about your comfort level regarding masks and distancing for our indoor worship.   Wherever this takes journey us, I’m grateful to be walking with all of you along this path that somehow manages to be both normal and strange, simultaneously.

Yours in Christ,

Justin

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