As you know, each week I am expanding on one of the four practices I believe Jesus wants to cultivate in us throughout 2021: Reflective Listening, Creative Connecting, Intentional Diversity, Adventurous Thinking. (Click on “Reflective Listening” to read more about that particular priority.) Today we’ll consider:
Creative Connecting: We need to cultivate life-giving ways of spending time together. These have been disconnecting and lonely days!
We are created in the image of the Trinitarian God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who exist as an eternal community. My church history professor, Dr. Les Fairfield, almost weekly (and quite joyfully) would remind us of the teaching of the Cappadocian Fathers:
“The relationship of Father, Son and Spirit is…understood as “loving activities” or operations or energies. The personhood of Father, Son and Spirit lies precisely in their active and loving communion with one another. This is the heart of reality.”
The clear implication is that we are created to engage in “loving activities” with God and with each other, and such “loving communion” is experienced most fully in physical community. This is why we all feel so much frustration, weariness, and pain in response to the necessary COVID restrictions hemming us in. They tear at the very fabric of reality. (Such irony that right now loving each other still requires maintaining distance from each other.)*
And this is why we need to be consistent and creative in pursuing connection!
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Sunday worship that is in-person and livestreamed, delivering consecrated hosts, Sunday Zoom Fellowship at 11:30am, Bible studies, Wednesday Lenten Compline and discussion groups, weekly calls from the Phone Team, Pray and Play with Immanuel Kids, the Youth Group post-church gathering, the upcoming Men’s Retreat…. These are all ways that the Immanuel family is pursuing connection with God and each other.
And I know there are other ideas out there! Meeting in a parking lot for take-out lunch, going for a walk, bundling up and sitting on a porch, drive-by prayer times, Zoom dinners, volunteering with one of our ministry partners…. Let’s ask the Lord and each other for courage and creativity to seek togetherness with each other and with our neighbors. And as the ideas come, please share them with me, with our staff, and with our Vestry!
Your Pastor in Christ,
*P.S. The past couple of weeks we have seen an increase in the number of people attending in the in-person Eucharist Service at Gray’s Event Center. It’s wonderful! Remember that our services are limited to 70 people, so it is important for you to pre-register. Also, please remember that before and after the service we need to maintain physical distance, resisting the created urge to move close together for conversation.