Grace and peace to you on this summer day. Your pastors continue to miss seeing you all in person, and we continue to hold you all in prayer even at physical distance. As we near completion of 5 months of keeping our building in an essential function mode, we continue as church in worship, connection, learning, and service. We have always been open.
Our sacred mission remains as the life of the world continues. The COVID-19 pandemic joined us rather swiftly and we remember from March the need to respond to rapidly changing conditions. It was a time to shift into a kind of extra gear trying to keep up with events and alter our ways of working and communing. In some ways, to use a running analogy, it was a sprint. As any marathon runner will tell you, there is a sort of hurried pace at the beginning of many events as the runner seeks to shift their body into running mode and to find their stride amidst the conditions and people present. However, after a while, the runner finds that sustainable stride, finds that pace for the long run. Sprinting cannot be maintained if the runner wishes to finish the race, nor will stopping and waiting for different conditions be a way to finish the race.
We encourage us all to find our long run church pace in this marathon of COVID-19 and in the pandemics of racism, inequality, and environmental degradation. These pandemics call for a faithful response of resistance, sustained resistance. In this last week we lost two profound leaders. John Lewis and C.T Vivian were among the American heroes whose resistance to racial injustice and economic inequality was sustained for decades, with the support of communities maintaining a “long run” pace. In naming Lewis and Vivian, we call to mind a passage from the Book of Hebrews: “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
The COVID pandemic will continue for a while. It is wise for us to find our sustainable stride of altered church life in the months to come so that we can continue to create, connect, and serve a ministry that seeks transformation of these unholy pandemics assaulting God’s Creation and God’s people. Runners know that one way to find and maintain a sustainable pace is to run with others, who will match them stride for stride, encourage one another when we grow weary, and lift up one another when anyone stumbles.
We are on a sacred journey, and we continue to find ways to sustain and pace one another each week. We know this is hard. We know that each of you has your own individual or family struggle in this time. We know that any runner at any time might “hit a wall.” And we are here for you. Please reach out to us and let us know how you are doing.
Let’s run this race together. Let’s keep moving.
Your pastors and running buddies,