Once again the situation has changed around us. Travis County is now under a “stay at home/shelter in place” order until at least sometime in April. This means that we will not resume worship and other activities at the church until this order is lifted. I urge all of you to settle in, take a few deep breaths, and stay home until you hear otherwise.
This will certainly have an impact on our community life and worship. It means we will not be able to meet together in physical proximity for worship until probably after Holy Week and Easter. In my sermon this past Sunday, I said:
We can’t postpone Easter! Not this year because of the Coronavirus. Not ever. Because Easter has already happened! Easter isn’t some large event we have been planning for months, like South by Southwest, or the NCAA March Madness, or the Summer Olympics. Easter is not a future event we have yet to experience. Easter is history. Even as we walk through the dark valley of a global viral pandemic, the reality is that the Light has already come into the world, and it outshines the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it!
That being said, we are increasing our virtual online worship capabilities and we are planning something really wonderful for Holy Week and Easter. Be on the lookout for that! I encourage you to try new technology, even if it feels unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable to me as well! But together we will get through all of this, even as we are physically apart from one another.
A colleague in Atlanta sent me these suggestions for spiritual practices during this time, with permission to pass them along:
- Breath prayer:
- Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, imagining a circular motion of air entering and exiting;
- Either (a) breathe in silence and let surface what surfaces; or (b) breathe in a word that you want to take on or to carry with you and exhale a word you want to release or let go of; or (c) breathe in a verse or phrase of scripture and breathe out something that keeps you from being fully present to God
- Gratitude journal/inventory:
- Each night before bed, take a few minutes to jot down several things from the day for which you are grateful. They can be as grand as a major personal breakthrough and as ordinary as a brief moment all of the laundry was folded and put away. When you wake up, begin your day reviewing the gratitudes from the day before, framing your day with gratefulness.
- Holding another in the Light:
- Grab a post-it note or small piece of paper. Write the name of someone who is on your mind or who you feel needs your concern/prayer. Carry the paper with you throughout the day, and take time to hold it periodically, calling to mind that person and inviting God’s grace to fill them.
Beloveds, pray for one another. Reach out by email and telephone. Think about your nearest neighbors in the homes closest to you – if you have their phone number, call them and let them know you are thinking about them! If you have a neighborhood email group – Nextdoor or something like it – use it to stay in touch!
And – if you want to reach out to me, please don’t hesitate!