Dear Church Friends,
I miss seeing you, and I am keeping all of you in my daily prayers: all of us who are at risk as the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread in our community; those of you who have been struggling with other illnesses, declining health and isolation; church members in hospice care and those who love them dearly; healthcare providers and public servants on the frontline; families trying to care for aging relatives remotely, and parents trying to comfort, teach and entertain their children in this season of perplexity.
We all know how counterintuitive and difficult it is right now to be a congregation who cannot congregate for a while. We are accustomed to being close to one another, holding each other up through all manner of difficulties as well as sharing faith, praise, service and laughter amid the troubles of the world. This is a season unlike any other.
In the midst of it, on my pathway from our manse to the church and home again, I am watching the Resurrection stained glass window being removed from the east transept of the Sanctuary. I know the timing of this is completely circumstantial, but it has become both an odd and hallowed metaphor for me this week. The first time I passed by the lift with Mark talking to his partner on the inside of the window as they were removing a section, I almost cried. The removal of that treasured window, and all that it symbolizes for us, felt like adding insult to injury just now a few weeks before Easter.
Then, as I continue to pass by the window removal, slowly that initial depressive poignancy has been replaced with a real sense of assurance. They couldn’t keep Jesus in the tomb. He is alive and at work in the world in ways that surpass our understanding, just as he promised. Our Resurrection window is coming down during this season while we are separated from one another, but it is being restored and will be reinstalled in the fall. Now the view of holes on that stone wall being covered with plywood has become a symbol of hope and trust in this oddest season of congregational life. We will be together again even as light will shine through that window again.