Greetings and welcome to Corona Sabbath. This is one of the ways the church is endeavoring to offer spiritual support during these challenging days of COVID-19. We plan to continue to post these weekly until we are able to meet again in person for worship. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions.
We start by listening to a scripture lesson from the Gospel of John, chapter 14:
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God;
have faith in me as well.
In God’s house there are many dwelling places;
otherwise, how could I have told you
that I was going to prepare a place for you?
I am indeed going to prepare a place for you,
and then I will come back to take you with me,
that where I am
there you may be as well.
You know the way that leads to where I am going.”
You may have heard the version, In my Father’s house are many rooms. Many rooms. I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to see another room. One with my grandson in it, if you don’t mind!
Yes, I live in a wonderful home. With many rooms. Filled with many interesting things to do. And two beautiful family members. And three entertaining dogs. And our home has a spacious yard where I can work in the garden and watch the hummingbirds on the firebush plants. And the hawk that likes the panama cherries. And the squirrels chasing each other along the neighbor’s fence. And my house is in a lovely residential neighborhood near two parks where I can bike and walk. And I can still go to my comfortable office at the church with the wonderful windows that look out on the trees and birds and the neighborhood. Oh yes, many rooms!
But there is a mask in my purse that I put on when I go anywhere besides my home or office. There is hand sanitizer in my bag that I use several times a day when I can’t wash my hands. There are Zoom meetings on my calendar each day. And then there is that little twinge when I see an image of people eating close together in a restaurant, or sitting shoulder to shoulder in a pew, or standing pressed together in a crowd – that they are doing something wrong. They shouldn’t be doing that. Oh yeah. That was before Corona. Already I feel rewired to keep my distance. In only a few weeks. How did that happen – so fast?
In God’s house there are many rooms. And here we are in this Corona room. Who expected that? Not the President. And it doesn’t look like there is an escape route. No trick hinge or optical illusion or incantation that will let us out.
So, here we are. In this room. Essentially on lock down. And we will be here for months to come. The CDC is saying no group singing in the schools for up to 2 years. Gulp. Other sources are saying no communion, no hugging, no shaking hands, no passing the peace, no passing the offering plate, no holding hands for the closing circle. World without end. Amen? There is a sense of grief and loss, but there is also opportunity. To minister in new ways. To learn. To grow in faith. To find joy in new ways. To experiment. To connect and build community.
The advisors of our church met this week to talk about ministry opportunities going forward. The advisors will be inviting conversation with the congregation. Since we won’t be going back to the way we were doing things, for a long time, if ever, we are embracing the opportunity to try new things. New ways to be a supportive faith community. New ways to serve the community around us. Why? Here’s my answer: Because life is better with church. For many reasons, life is just better with church (or a faith community).
While I may not like being in the “Corona” room, and I certainly don’t believe in a God that put us in here, I do know that Divine Love is here with us in this Corona time. Suffering. Serving. Sobbing. With us. And there are things we can discover, things that can emerge, things that we can learn, things to be thankful for, and things that spark joy and wonder in this Corona room. While I want to leave this room and see other rooms in God’s house, I know that I can flourish and thrive in this room. And that we as a church, as people of faith, and as a species, can benefit from this time in this space.
I think of the children’s book, The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. The little bunny wants to run away from home. It comes up with all these ideas about where to go. But everywhere the bunny suggests hiding, the mother figures out a way to join the bunny. The bunny considers becoming a fish and swimming away. The mother says she will become a fisherman and catch the little bunny. The bunny thinks about becoming a flower. But the mother says she will become a gardener and find the little bunny. The little bunny imagines going off to join the circus and become a trapeze artist. The mother bunny says then she will become a tightrope walker and find the little bunny. The mother simply won’t let the bunny escape from her love. This is how it is with God. With Divine Love. We may try, but we can’t get away from it. We are always in God. No matter what. In those many rooms. Even during these trying days of this worldwide pandemic.
So, maybe I don’t like this Corona room. I want to see that grandchild. More importantly, I want people to stop dying of this virus, and I want healthcare workers and essential workers to feel safe again. I want to see the end of the racism fueled by this virus. Yes, I want to be done with this, but I know God is here, even in this room, especially in this room, and we will make it through.
I am hopeful that this room will lead to another room, a room where we can live and not be afraid. Where people are healthy and have healthcare. Where every life is sacred and valued. And where we can hug, especially our grandchildren! Amen!
As you listen to the music from Hilton which follows, you are invited to notice the thoughts and feelings and that arise for you.
(Click HERE if you wish to see the post containing the video of this text.)