Hello again! I pray that you who read this article are healthy and safe. Before I share some of my own thoughts and feelings, I wanted to say thank you to Dr. Julien Smith and Mr. Aaron Morrison for their contributions to our Parish Blog Site. We are so blessed to have these thoughtful and prayerful men in our midst!
Since the mid part of March, most of us have been “sheltering in place” and practicing social distancing because of the recent health pandemic. In an effort to “flatten the curve” and to ease the burden of our courageous health care workers, we have closed our businesses, many employees are now working “remotely”, our education system has navigated into the arena of “e-learning”, and our church communities are now gathering virtually for worship, bible study, fellowship, and outreach. The world economy seems to have ground to a halt and, sadly, many millions of people have lost their jobs. Throughout this time, many of us have been glued to the news trying desperately to process all the information that is being presented to us. We receive daily briefings from the White House, the Governor, the Mayor, and even church leaders. Data is presented to us from experts in the medical field and from scientists. Many people feel that all this information can help us find some sense of stability in a time when everything seems to be totally out of our control.
To be honest, I am beginning to reach a point of “information overload”. Indeed, much of the information that I am receiving seems contradictory and I feel that I’m getting “mixed messages” about the best way forward. Some scientists are suggesting one treatment while others believe in a different course of action. Some people believe we should continue the practice of social distancing while others believe that we should relax these guidelines. Some states, including Indiana have begun the process of “opening up” the economy while other states have extended their “shelter in place” orders. Indeed, just this week, our Governor suggested that churches could open after May 8 for certain worship services (given proper safety protocols). However, our church leaders have made the decision to keep our Episcopal churches closed and operate virtually as a sign of our love and care for one another and as a witness to the living out of our Baptismal call to “respect the dignity of human being”.
With all mixed information and data, I often find myself feeling unsettled and confused. What information can I rely on? Who can I trust? I can resonate with the Psalmist who says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where does my help come from? (Psalm 121). Thankfully, the Psalmists answers his own question – “my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”. To be sure, I believe that we need to persevere in the practice of social distancing. We need to continue our efforts to work, worship, and learn remotely so that we keep hospitals and clinics freed up to care for those who are in most need. Believe me, I know that it is a sacrifice that we are all making. But, all of our leaders remind us daily that our job of “flattening the curve” is not complete. And I believe that we must keep processing all the information about COVID-19 and its consequences. I also believe, that we must also be informed about the unchangeable truth of our loving God. Our help, friends, comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121 presents a God who can be trusted because “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep”.
I invite you to join us virtually for worship, bible study, fellowship, and outreach. I promise you that you will always hear a consistent message, a reliable message, a trustworthy message about a God who loves you and will be a “very present help in your time of distress”.