Last night we had our first live-stream Rainbow worship gathering. You can find the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6aQzyYF0quBZBz1a-OJksg
We are going to try and do this every Wednesday at 5:45 pm for the foreseeable future. Hopefully some of us can work that in our ever-changing schedules.
For those who would rather read, here is what I tried to convey:
Hello to all, gathered near and far. At Rainbow we have congregants living in Ireland (Hello to Erin and Aaron, Rory and Nathan!) and Australia (Hello to Freddy Rhoads and family!), Japan (Hello Kate Duncan), and Hawaii (Hello Bill Duncan and family!)
Former Mennonite Voluntary Service worker, Eba, sent this note from Africa:
“Thank you for remembering me and saying hi. I’m taking the necessary measures to keep my family safe. Africa had the lowest cases over the past weeks but now the numbers are starting to rise and our government closed schools and public gatherings. My sister and I enjoy walking our dog every evening, at least until we are asked to stay home, Peace, Eba.”
We are also spread out in the United States. We heard this week from Anna Marie Petersen in Wayland, IA, and Ralph and Laurel Kaufman in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Their retirement community is locked down.) Caitlin Buerge, a traveling pediatric nurse, is waiting to see if she’ll be called and asked to take care of adult patents. Christian Buller is taking classes remotely, helping his sister Sarah and John with childcare. Dustin and Robert are hunkered down in St. Louis. The list goes on. Hello to all!
We are probably all checking in with loved ones near and far. Please feel free to share your prayer requests and concerns with the Deacons or me. Speaking of Deacons, we thank those who have offered to run errands or bring groceries to people. And we want to thank our medical professionals and those in the social service mental health world who are responding to people’s distress. We have members working in clinics, hospitals, prisons, homes, as social workers, therapists, nurses, doctors, surgeons, teachers, and advocates of many kinds.
The ripple effects are rather astounding when you think about it. Trips are being canceled, spring break plans are changing by the hour. I think of all of you parents out there with kids at home. You are figuring out childcare or child activities as you work from home or out of home.We know a lot of school-aged children depend on food that they get at schools. We are currently figuring out how to make Harvester Backsnack deliveries available to our community children.
Many of us also have parents or grandparents who are vulnerable, isolated, and lonely. And many of us have already comprised immune systems or other health concerns. And many are concerned about losing their jobs, businesses, or losing retirement funds.
So yes, these are concerning and challenging times.
Let’s take a deep breath collectively.
Here is a reading by Brother Richard Hendrick called “Lockdown.”
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, they say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise you can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet the sky is no longer thick with fumes, but blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi people are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood so that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way. All over the world people are waking up to a new reality to how big we really are; to how little control we really have; to what really matters; to Love.
So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear, but there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation, but there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying, but there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness, but there does not have to be disease of the soul. Yes there is even death, but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic. The birds are singing again, the sky is clearing. Spring is coming, and we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul and though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.
And for further reflections on Psalm 91, click here: In the trenches