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Religious

July 1, 2021

   It’s been twelve days since the Glen Rock area reported a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, aka SARS-CoV-2. By the time you read this, that small streak may have been broken. That possibility doesn’t diminish the good of the news. Twelve straight days of no new cases of the “virus” hasn’t happened for a long time. We’re not out of the woods, but for now, I’ll take it.

   We’ve come a long way.

   One year ago, The Well was closing in on serving 5,000 grab and go lunches, while we were preparing to re-gather in-person worship with the appropriate protocols: masks, social distancing, hand washing, and less singing.  Meetings and church, and family gatherings met online. Funerals were held graveside. Eating out became eating in. School and work schedules changed. Then, when the vaccines arrived, many of us saw the proverbial light at the end of a long tunnel. Today that light is a bit brighter, and the tunnel doesn’t seem as long.

One year later, hope is building. The Well is opening a Food Bank and looking to open after school in the Fall. Masks are no longer mandated. Restrictions are being lifted. Families are traveling and gathering. Life is beginning to be more like it used to be, but never to be quite the same.

It happens.

   When the people of God returned to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon, they began to rebuild the temple. The book of Ezra says that when the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, the city was filled with shouts of praise and thanksgiving. Then Ezra says, “But many of the …old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house… so that the people could not distinguish sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping.” (Ezra 3:10-13)

   These, too, are bittersweet days.

   Families are gathering, but some are gathering with an empty chair. People are still meeting, but without the commute. As employers call their staff back to work, some of their employees are seeking a job that doesn’t consume their life.  As more of us return to in-person worship, there are homebound congregants who fear the loss of online worship. In many ways, we are living in a day where it is hard to tell the shouts of joy from the cries of grief.

   The exiles found their way forward by living into the good never claimed, the good they had never lost, and the good they had found in exile. It wasn’t an easy task, but it is the path that keeps us within the new thing God is doing in us and the world in such a time as this.

 

Pastor Skip