Welcome to the first August edition of “Interim Ideas,” AKA “the worst Sunday day off ever”!
When you are a pastor, a Sunday off is a rare occurrence. I like to combine them with sleeping a little late, eating some slow food, going for a walk. Sometimes I go to church, but not always. I planned to do all of those things on July 24, with the walk being along the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County. The church service of the day was to be an afternoon wedding of our niece Jessie. It seemed a good way to spend some precious time off.
But the day before we were to leave for Wisconsin, Ann tested positive for Covid. Since I was already on vacation, I was the consummate caregiver, only seeing her when I brought homemade soup and brownies into the room where she slept.
That wasn’t exciting, but it was OK. Then Sunday morning, I started feeling yucky. Took my temperature and had fever. Took a Covid test. About the same time that you were all receiving the Body of Christ, I saw the dreaded double lines and settled in for my own bout with this virus. I was miserable for a couple of days, then just tired. As the children’s book goes, I had a terrible, no good, very bad day.
I’m at the point where I can be around people, but only if I wear a tight-fitting mask. I will test before I spent anytime around you without a mask.
Isn’t it funny that today is the first day in the two month extension of my contract? Maybe we are meant to learn some things together about what it means to be community in the endemic of Covid. Our experience of the world has certainly changed in the past 2 ½ years. We’ve learned that we are more vulnerable. We’ve seen science make great strides that mean fewer of us will die from this virus. We’ve seen people decide that gathering together with others in worship is a lower priority than it once was. We’ve been reminded that the veneer of control that makes life so much easier can be stripped away in an instant.
I’m thinking about what this reality means for the church and welcome hearing insights from any of you. Maybe our corporate prayers need to include an openness to what we need to learn now.
We’ll also have occasions in our remaining time together to do some interesting things. Some highlights:
I’d rather not be beginning this time Covid+, but as those great British theologians the Rolling Stones sang,
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you’ll find
You get what you need.”
Grace and peace,