Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
- 1 John 4:17
WE- it speaks so much easier than it is to live it out. LOVE- it speaks so much easier than it is to live it out. GOD- to us in so many ways that the breadth and depth of God’s love for us is infinite. To listen and learn, practice and share, receive and give this love of God takes time. WE -it speaks so much easier than it is to live it out. God has created us one for another. Now we are getting to practice how to be creative, patient, kind, and loving. LOVE - it speaks so much easier than it is to live it out. Now is the time we get to be very intentional as we seek to live from a place of consideration and love for ONE ANOTHER. It speaks so much easier than it is to live it out. It takes time.
As we begin to implement plans for worshipping on our campus we begin with these convictions; We love God and we love one another. It starts with God’s amazing love for us and then…we let that in and live that out. As our Re-Entry Committee met Wednesday June 10, 2020 we prayed. We went over the survey results- thanks to all of you who took time to share your thoughts with us. We also shared the variety of resources available to churches. We don't have to do this alone. We looked at a document entitled, Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic.Click here if you would like to read it in it’s entirety. Below I share with you a section from that document.
Jesus taught that love of God and love of every neighbor are two inseparable aspects of one great commandment for the people of God (Matthew 22:35–40) . Our love for God and neighbor is a response to God’s love for the world revealed in Jesus (John 3:16) . Love motivates everything we do as disciples of Jesus Christ, including how we worship and fellowship with one another . Especially during times of crisis, faithful Christian worship expresses the fullness of the gospel, both what it requires (love of God, self, neighbor, and the world) and what it releases (love, joy, peace, forgiveness, and deliverance in all forms) . Love is the ground of all of our work in this project, and of all of the work God calls each congregation and ministry to undertake .
During this pandemic, love of neighbor requires careful planning . Because we love God, we want to offer worship that brings our very best. Because we love our neighbors, we want to do everything we can to make sure we bring no harm to anyone when we gather .
Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic. Page 5
As I write this I am with my dad in Southern California as we await the next home health care provider to show up today. He had a stroke. He was in a care facility. He went home then back in the hospital with sepsis, pneumonia, a gall bladder that needed to be removed. We couldn't see him either of the times he was in the hospital or the care facility. So we waited and when it seemed helpful to come and help it all worked out to be here. Now together we wait. It takes time. There are changes, challenges, concerns and prayer is the companion. This song by James Taylor has been a companion to me for more than three decades. The words come back to me "the secret to life is enjoying the passage of time". This is all going to take time.
So it is with love. Love takes time. It often has changes, challenges and we have concerns about those we love. Love also shows up and suits up and is willing to be sent out. I am so grateful for all those who helped make this possible for me to be here and for the prayers. All the prayers that are deep breaths, songs, scripture, phone calls, cards... Prayer can take so many forms.. Prayer is also one of the ways we can both share and received the connecting love we have for God. Love takes time.
In the days of sheltering in place, safer at home, Covid19 it has been so much more time than I had thought. I am learning to just let things take the time they do. Time goes both slowly and quickly. Returning home to Colorado tomorrow, I see how this time in California has gone both slowly and quickly. With my dad’s recovery at times it seems to get better and then it isn’t better and then it gets better…it’s going to take time. Patience, perseverance and prayer.
This weekend we will hear in Matthew the 9th chapter
37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Gratitude fills me as I reflect on all the laborers who have come to my dad’s home to care for him.
I am reminded of another section of beloved scripture that becomes balm for my spirit as we wait.
From Isaiah 40:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Love takes time.
So today as I wait, I let my deep breaths serve as prayers. As we discern together next steps toward re-opening our campus for worship and meetings we pray, we listen, we breathe in deeply, we seek God’s will for us and the strength to carry it out. Thank you to all who filled out the survey and joined in the conversation this past Wednesday. This will take all of us. So together guided by the Spirit we make next step plans allowing for time to learn how to set up worship outdoors first and then move indoors in a way that is care-filled.
It’s going to take time and some of it will go slowly and some quickly.
After Jesus told his followers that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers few -he went on to speak their names and send them out. Jesus has called each of us also by name and is sending us out. Where are you being called to love, to serve, to grow?
It may take some time in our newest reality of life to discern what loving and serving and growing mean for each one of us and for us as a faith community. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers few. For me today- with the foundation of prayer, patience, scripture, community and love- lots and lots of love- I will keep being open to taking the next step just as we did with my dad in his garden today.