It has been good to step away from the usual routines this summer, and it’s good to be back. I was mainly at home in Concord, but also spent some time at the ocean with dear family and friends, a real treat.
At the same time, as you know, it was a strange summer, with a low and pervasive drumbeat of anxiety—continued deaths and suffering from Covid19, turmoil over race and racism, and escalating political divisions. We are grateful for so much—our homes and gardens, the trails and fields of Lincoln, health and safey, and yet there is a heaviness to the air. These are unusual times we are living through, difficult times, and we know this in the marrow of our bones.
It is good to be back “amongst” you, although to be honest, what it means to be a spiritual community when we can not be physically together is unclear. I’ve heard from some of you that you are sad we will not be back together again for church, in person, although you support this decision. I confess I feel that sadness too.
It’s unclear what it means to be a community, but I trust we’ll try to figure that out together, live it out together. I have great faith in you.
It makes me curious to learn more about peoples of faith who lived through a “diaspora.” I think of the Israelites exiled in Babylon and those worshipping in the ghetto in Warsaw.
There are so many things about September that remain the same. Butternut squash and tomatoes ripen on the vine; zinnias are exuberant in the late summer garden, a riot of red and orange and pink.
And yet, so much is different. What does it mean to “go back to school” in these days? What is it like to start kindergarten, or middle school or high school? Will colleges remain “open” for the fall and what does that look like? And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
I don’t know what this year will bring but I feel grateful to be walking through these days with you. I will rely on your creativity, good humor, kindness, resourcefulness, and strong heartedness as we strive to figure out how to “do church” in a whole new way.
Please let me know if you’d like a visit (outside, on patio, driveway or garden, socially distanced) or want to speak on the phone. Email is always a good way to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org.