Alleluia! Christ is risen!
With that shout of joy on the first Easter morning the world changed. Life as the disciples knew it changed. They moved to a new rhythm. We too know a little about life changing, about having to let go of old ways of being, about having to find new ways of being, new rhythms.
One of the most familiar ways we experience Christ with us is in worshipping together—being gathered in person as God’s people. We are used to connecting to others and to God in ways that are tangible; we shake hands, we sit together, we hug at the peace, we touch and taste bread and wine. None of those things is available to us now.
But God is. God is present with us, today and always.
And, perhaps, one of the gifts for us in this time is learning to open ourselves up to new ways of experiencing God, of connecting to that Holy Presence. As Episcopalians, we believe that Christ is uniquely present in the Bread and Wine, yet we also believe that the gathered community, all of us together, is a critical part of what makes Communion holy. In other words, Communion for one is not really Communion. So, for the foreseeable future, until we can be together and connect tangibly to each other and to God in Bread and Wine, in touch and taste, we are going to worship with the Sacrament of the Word—connecting to each other and to God through the Great Story as told in Scripture, through prayers and through “gathering” together for conversations, book studies, and just for fun.
I realize that, for some, this is a loss, a source of grief. And I share that. Life, as we all know, is a combination of mourning and rejoicing, lament and praise.This is a time of lament. I long for the time we can be together and can share the Bread and the Wine, the Body and the Blood. It will be a moment of great joy. And yet Jesus’ desire for us is abundant life, joy, here and now, not deferred until some unknown future time. So I invite you to join me in trusting that God is present to us and with us. However we worship, God in Christ will lead us to finding joy where we are. I invite us to loosen our grip on the comforts of what we know, with faith that God never leaves us empty handed. I invite you to join me in opening yourself up to hearing and experiencing God in new ways. I invite you to, with Sarah and me, find ways to connect and worship that work with this new rhythm of life in which we find ourselves.
One of the most beautiful images I know of is that at the heart of all Creation, all of life, is the heartbeat of God. That eternal rhythm that underlies and shapes life, as close to us as our pulse yet is also the rhythm of the pulsing of stars. All we do and are as Christians is designed to help us hear and move to that rhythm. Our call is to keep an ear tuned for that heartbeat, God’s rhythm, and then to move to it—whether that movement is a crawl, a walk, or a full on salsa.
So for the time being, our rhythm, our daily dance, at St. Peter’s will consist of Morning Prayer on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Evening Prayer on Wednesday, the Sacrament of Word and Prayer on Sunday morning, and Compline on Sunday evening.
Dearly beloved, I do not know when we will be able to be together in the church building again. I do know that we are still the church; that holy band of dancers, sometimes finding the rhythm, sometimes being a bit ahead or behind the beat, sometimes needing to change the steps mid-dance. And I know that whatever the dance looks like, God is in it and God delights in it. So come on, let’s dance as we find a new rhythm, together.