LENT / LECTIONARY REFLECTIONS You are invited to join in weekly online reflection (and group sharing as you are so moved!) based on Lenten resources and the upcoming lectionary (Biblical) texts (note: you also have the option through the link to follow daily lectionary readings if that's of interest). Contact Pastor Tim to sign up for the weekly email, or with any questions.
TWELVE-STEP MEETINGS Click here for more information if your regular group meetings are canceled, or if you are otherwise not able to make a meeting in person.
FROM PASTOR TIM We are living in and through a strange, surreal, unsettling, chaotic, uncertain, fearful time. Living into unprecedented and quickly changing circumstances, pushed against our deepest instincts toward social distancing and self-quarantining. With heightened concerns for our own and each other's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and economic well-being.
In such a context it is especially important that we hold onto our connections with and continue to care for each other, at least in spirit if not in the flesh. We are committed to doing that at Calvary through this unknown. As part of that effort we're offering an opportunity to connect virtually to worship, along with other resources to help support each other and maintain our vital connections (as listed above).
That said, allow me to share a couple of thoughts for such a time as this:
The first is to acknowledge that we remain on the Lenten journey through all of its rough, unpredictable terrain. The journey, with Jesus, into the world's and our own brokenness, the world's and our own suffering. The journey toward the cross, in the midst of so many crucified realities.
In many ways, we are now being forced into even deeper wilderness to confront our fears and engage our individual and collective vulnerability, fragility, mortality. In this wilderness, may we all hold firm to the underlying, grounded, interconnected reality that we are not alone. The God whose love and peace surpasses our understanding, the God who is Love and Peace which surpasses our understanding, is with us. Including through each other. We are not alone. You are not alone.
As I preached a few weeks ago, I've heard that some variation of the refrain "do not be afraid" shows up in the Bible 365 times. I still don't know if that's true, but I continue to hope that it is - a daily reminder to invite and allow love to cast out our fear(s).
The second is an invitation. While acknowledging the extraordinary toll this new reality is taking on each of us (in one way or another), and further acknowledging that it will be felt more harshly by many who are more vulnerable among us (in one way or another), I share a poem which was shared with Amy during a virtual retreat experience this past weekend. And which we shared during the leadership call yesterday.
It speaks to possibilities within the current disarray, to opportunities in the midst of and beyond the fear and uncertainty. We hope it might speak to you in some way through your own experience in the days and weeks to come. And we hope that it will inspire us as a community to dig more intentionally and fully and deeply into the ongoing practice of building and sustaining beloved community - in ways that will better serve us now and beyond this pandemic.
Pandemic (Lynn Ungar) What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath-- the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love-- for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.
Friends, may we continue to stay connected to each other in spirit - with our words and our hearts, and through our love, the divine love within us. Please continue to take good care of yourselves. Our Congregational Care Team, with help from other members of the congregation, is reaching out within our Calvary community to assess individual needs as they may arise through this time. However long this time lasts.
At any point along the way, please let me know (email@example.com or 215-370-7411) if you have any such needs where I or Calvary can be of support. Or if you have any other questions, concerns or suggestions as we live further into the wilderness together.