Weekly Lifelines 8/12/2021

I’ve really enjoyed having pandemic restrictions ease in the past few months. Who
knew going indoors with face uncovered could make a person feel so daring and
so free? That temporary ease—that little taste of hope—makes the surge in new
infections in recent weeks feel extra awful. We were so close. Ugh.

Whatever our feelings about the matter, the delta variant is now here and
spreading. Covid infections are again rising. For vaccinated people, the risk is low,
but it isn’t non-existent. Breakthrough infections do happen.

Consequently, in order to continue gathering for worship indoors, St. Luke’s is
requiring masks on everyone while inside the church. This will enable us to
continue singing, trusting that masks and vaccinations will be sufficient to mitigate
the risk. Because there’s no way to keep masks on while eating and drinking, we
will suspend coffee hour for the time being.

Like everyone else, I’m worn out on pandemic restrictions. Given their
reemergence, I’m grateful to have found some consolation in Ephesians, which
we’re in the midst of reading during Sunday worship.

The last half Ephesians contains a bunch of practical advice, reminding Christians of
important principles like, “thieves shouldn’t steal,” “lying is to be avoided,” and
“family members ought to treat each other with mutual love and respect.” If you
pull out the religious language, it’s surprisingly prosaic. But what makes the letter
interesting is not the assertion that Christians should behave well, it’s why the
author insists that we do so.

As followers of Jesus, we do what is right, even if it’s difficult, unpopular, or not
personally beneficial, because by doing so we manifest God’s love to and for one
another. And we remember that our purpose on earth is not to triumph over other
people, but to push back against the forces of evil that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God.

I am not at all excited to go back to wearing a mask. But I do it cheerfully because it
means our community can continue to gather in prayer and sacrament to
experience and proclaim the love of God poured out on all flesh.

Yours in Christ,
Justin

P.S. I’ll be on vacation starting next Tuesday. I’ll be away from Tuesday, August 17,
through Monday, September 6 (Labor Day). I’ve arranged for supply priests to
preach and preside on the three Sundays I’ll be gone. The Rev. Alan Tilson will be
here on August 22 and the Rev. Kathleen Charles will be here on August 29 and
September 5. The Rev. Beth Royalty, Calvary’s rector, will cover any pastoral
emergencies that arise.


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