We resumed in-person worship about a month ago. It has been wonderful to see many of your faces in person once again. I have expressed my gratitude for your grace and patience as we all figure out what this looks like. I take this opportunity to once again say: thank you. We haven’t done this before. There is no “we’ve always done it this way” when this is a process that is new. Thank you for bearing with me and one another. As Paul writes in his letter to the Galatian church: “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Part of being the Church is bearing with one another even through new and difficult challenges.
My personal feeling, and maybe you share this, too, is that the last several months have brought an increased level of stress and anxiety to every aspect of life. COVID complicates pretty much everything. Simple decisions ranging from where to get groceries to whether to visit family out of state are all no longer simple. Additionally, the entire pandemic has become increasingly politicized. As if living in a pandemic wasn’t stressful enough, basic aspects of living and the decisions we make highlight the cultural and political differences we all have with friends, family, and others in the Body of Christ. No matter your cultural and political affiliations, we can all probably agree that times are stressful and anxious.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 139, which begins with “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” God made you, and God knows you. Furthermore, God knows how you respond to the increased stress and anxiety that many of us are feeling. Some of us respond by wanting to shut down and not do anything. While others increase our activity level to the point of over functioning. Other common responses include change of eating and sleeping habits, fatigue, self-isolating, less patience with people, and decreased cognitive functioning. It is good to be aware of what your own responses are. However you are responding to the current state of the world, know that God knows you. God loves you. God will continue to care for all of us.