I have been re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic Life Together, and was struck by this passage, especially in light of the distancing we have had to endure to help stem the tide of the pandemic.
The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer… The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians. Man was created a body, the Son of God appeared on earth in the body, he was raised in the body, in the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ in the body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected fellowship of God’s spiritual-physical people…
In this way, Covid has been a kind of “exile” for us. There’s a reason this feels bad. Our fellowship with each other is a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God in our midst, and we are suffering for the lack of it. In our physical isolation from each other, we are experiencing what the prisoner experiences, what persecuted Christians experience, what the chronically ill experience.
As positivity rates go down and we look toward being able to be physically present with one another again in Christian fellowship, I want to encourage us in two ways:
- Keep feeling your feelings. Don’t avoid your sadness, don’t distract yourself from your longing to be with others. God will meet you in the reality of what you’re actually feeling, if you’ll be present to it.
- Keep praying and acting toward an end to the pandemic. Let’s continue to cry out to God to save and heal us, and let’s continue to act wisely to help bring about an end to this pandemic.
I also want to remind you briefly of a few items concerning our life together as the Body of Christ:
- I sent out an email earlier this week in regards to a new fundraising effort we have started in regards to Fr. Spencer’s salary. Please read through that and participate as you are able.
- Our annual Congregational Meeting is this Sunday, February 14, right after worship (~12:30pm or so). Check out the details and join us if you are able.
- Lent begins next week on Ash Wednesday, February 17 with a brief outdoor joint service at 6pm with Christ Church Indy. Our focus during Lent will be on Racism and Repentance. It starts with an online workshop on Saturday Feb 20 called Reimagining Life Together Beyond Whiteness. We will also be hosting discussions each week to share Kairoses from the workshop, sermons, and other resources we will share throughout the week. Discussions will happen Sunday mornings at 9:30am and Tuesday evenings at 8:30pm. We will also be hosting morning prayer from 8:00-8:30am on Wednesdays throughout Lent.
I’m grateful for all these ways we can continue to be Christ’s Body even while physically isolated from each other. But I’m really looking forward to being able to be together physically with you soon. Courage, church! God is with us and working among us, and everything is going to be okay.
Grace and peace,