August 31, 2021

From the Rector…
Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a sorrow to share. Too often, we keep those things bottled up inside for whatever reason—and we are a little less because of it. Stories and sorrows shape us and they help to shape
others. They define our experiences and help us and others make meaning about the world. Celebrations and joys can do that too and we are quick to share those things with one another. It is stories and sorrows thatspeak to the depths of our being and help us to feel human, to feel connected toone another.

In this past eighteen months we have had more than enough of sorrows and sufferings. We will have to endure more in the weeks and months ahead. COVID has stretched our capacity for good health—physically and spiritually. It has enticed our fears and plays out in our nightmares. It has divided us in a time when we need to be united. It has shown us for who we are and not who we want to be. As Christians, we are to practice compassion especially in the face of things we don’t like or understand. Instead, our hearts are becoming hardened in thisvariation of a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

It will not help us to call people names or use threats as a way of manipulation in order to get more folks vaccinated. Those who feel bullied will find obstinate reasoning as their only source of strength and they will hold firm to their refusals in being vaccinated. Bullying is not a strength of the Christian. Instead, we hold true to faith. We pray. We can encourage others in gentle ways that reflect a willingness to listen instead of telling people what they ought to do. Its not always about fixing another’s problems. Instead, we remember that “It’s not about the nail.” We make ourselves available to one another—striving for relationship first and then finding ways to meet other’s needs on their terms, not ours.

The beautiful thing about freedom is that we have choice. Not in every experience or decision that we face, but always in how we choose to relate to one another. Would this pandemic end quicker if we all got vaccinated? Probably—but that is not the thing that drives our relationships. Compassion for all—vaccinated and unvaccinated—that is what drives us. That compassion is predicated on three principals: 1. Just like me, you want to be free from suffering. 2. Just like me, you wish to know peace. 3. Just like me, you wish to know joy. Unfortunately, we all
suffer, and we do not always know peace and joy—but it is that basic desire in every human being, every creature you encounter that connects us to all living things.

In some ways, the Delta variant has been harder on me than COVID was. I’m tired. You’re tired. Our healthcare workers and hospitals are tired. Our communities are tired. We are tired of living in fear that we will test positive. We
are tired of wearing facemasks in public. We are tired simply from the exhausting effort of being cautious in our daily lives and the constant change that flutters around us. We are tired and we don’t want to be sick. I wish I had a telephone with a red button that was a direct link to God. That I could call God up and ask him when all this might be over. Unfortunately, I don’t. We will make it through. We will remain faithful to our fellow humanity just as Jesus was faithful to us to the point that he climbed on a cross and died for us—even and especially in our sinful and ignorant natures. We are Christians. We believe in something more than simply what this world offers. We believe in the Good News. And that is what we can tell others when we are an encouraging, inviting, non-resistance presence that pours out compassion for all those who are in a place of resistance. Because we know, just like us, all others want to be free from suffering. Just like us, all others want to know peace. Just like us, all others want to know joy.
Spread a little joy today. The whole world needs it.
Light and Life,