It feels as if the first Sunday of Lent was months ago, and yet it has only been two and a half weeks since we started our journey through the desert with our brother and teacher, Jesus. Our theme of “making a way out of no way” for this Lenten season is all the more relevant as we try to make sense of the barrage of information about the coronavirus. We come up against the end of the path, seeing no way forward as life as we knew it is no longer and we are left grappling with this new reality. Times are uncertain, yes; we aren’t sure when this will all be over, yes; we are caught in this space that is in-between, yes; but as people of faith we continue to claim that our God can and is making a way out of no way, as this traditional African American proverb says.
We were planning on exploring this theme through the categories of Worship. Gather. Study. Pray. It’s overwhelming to think that after all the rest of the closings and cancelations that we would have to forgo this as well?? Siblings in Christ, hear this good news: we can still worship together even if it’s through a web camera. We can still gather together in spirit through video platforms (Zoom), phone calls to those you know might need extra support, and daily prayer and connection calls with staff. We can still study the Word of God and the prayer practices of our tradition through weekly virtual bible study, virtual adult and youth formation and spiritual practice calls. We can still pray with our virtual house churches, with our prayer partners over the phone, or by simply lighting a candle and spending time in prayer individually or as a family in our homes. Not only can we still pray, but we need to hold each other in prayer as we navigate doing church in new ways. Evagrius, an aesthetic Christian monk, once said in reference to prayer: “we were made for this.” We were also made for love, connection, joy, and grief. We were made for each other, no matter the distance.
This blog will be a way for us all to connect with one another, to share stories of love, faith, growth, and gratitude even in the midst of crisis and to reflect on these historic times we are living through. This is a place to find water in the midst of the wilderness, to find spiritual resources for the times when your well is running dry, to get practical information that is reliable and credible in this time of untrustworthy news, and to share what is helping get you through this unprecedented time. Please submit poems, reflections, songs, or other resources that have been helping you find a way out of no way this season.
To call upon some words from our initial letter about our plan to stay connected through this time:
“Even when apart, we are not alone. God is with us, in every heartbeat, every breath: strengthening, comforting, and upholding us. Christ is with us, walking beside us, sharing our trails, speaking peace to our fears. The Spirit is with us, uniting us one to another across the barrier of physical distance. In the words of the old hymn:
When we are called to part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.”
The beloved people who make up First Church in Cambridge are in my prayers daily.
Blessings and Deepest Peace to you, dear church, until we meet again, face to face,
Pastoral Associate, First Church in Cambridge