Although Vermont has been able to lift restrictions earlier than anticipated, we are coming up on the weekend when we had expected to know a new freedom. Many of us may have planned our travel and holiday celebrations accordingly, so if I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see you this weekend at Morning Chapel (8:45 outside) or Zoom worship (10 am), I look forward to reconnecting on Sunday, July 11 and beyond when we reopen our sanctuary. You can also expect to receive a separate email next week outlining some special considerations for hybrid worship.Ã‚Â
Although many ministries of the church and myself have been working hard to ensure a smooth and safe transition, we know that there will be bumps in the road. The technical experience on a Sunday morning might be other than it was when we tested it in a small group. Our excitement to return to the building might be curbed if not as many people show up as we might have hoped.
Most pointedly, we will have just missed significant portions of shared life over the last 16 months. Our relationships to one another and ourselves will have changed since last we gathered in a similar way; some may have deepened, some may have drifted. Whether locally or remotely, all of us will show up on July 11 and beyond as changed people. It will take us some time to move through this transition physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that is ok. God will surely extend to us the grace to do so. I pray we also extend such grace to one another.
And while many of us surely have our eyes fixed on what is ahead, this week we will also recall the journey weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve traveled. During this period of life apart, we have also learned new skills of creativity, resilience, and stamina. We have been invited to practice patience, compassion, and self-sacrifice for the good of the whole. It has not been an easy journey or one weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to go through again, but it has been a journey on which God has nonetheless accompanied and grown us. What better way to remember and look forward with humble hope than with a gathering around the communion table?