We'll keep the lights on
It doesn’t matter who you are. These are trying times.
If you are fortunate, you have a sort of bubble in which you move about freely and that keeps you protected from the cruelty, hatred and vitriol that surrounds us. If you are fortunate and blessed you are part of a network of relationships that connects you to other human beings in ways that are loving, supportive, caring, in which you know in very real and concrete ways that you are loved and into which you can act with compassion, love and grace.
One of the daily rituals of our lives has been the assembling of personal protective equipment, especially face coverings, and venturing out into a world with a sense of foreboding, not know where or how this pernicious virus will re-emerge, not knowing when or if it will attack you, and when or if it does, the severity of the disease it will unleash on your body.
But perhaps the only thing that is worse than this daily gearing up, covering up and guarding up, is the growing sense that the ritual or personal protective equipment is really just a larger symbol of a greater and deeper spiritual sickness that has infected us at a higher rate than COVID-19. That the anger, hatred, selfishness and violence that comes spewing out of peoples’ minds and mouths has infected us all, and our love — our love for God and for our neighbor — has grown cold.
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:7-8
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Yesterday, after almost 12 weeks, Governor Murphy lifted New Jersey’s stay-at-home order. To some, this news comes as a relief, and they are eagerly planning to get a haircut, to eat out, to go shopping, to take a trip, to to to the shore or whatever else we were missing. To some, this news brings no joy, but actually increases their level of stress and anxiety. Because of age, pre-existing medical conditions and a full spectrum of other reasons some will feel the need to continue to stay-at-home, mostly. The members of the St. Paul’s community, too, greet the announcement with varied and mixed thoughts and feelings. The pressing challenge before us as a community is to continue to move forward as one fellowship, one body, even though each of us will being choosing different ways of engaging in a new normal — as individuals, families and even social pods.
TOGETHER IN CHRIST,
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