I trust that you and your family and friends are holding up during this stay-at-home quarantine. I read that 80% of Americans are under some kind of travel restrictions, and the percentage may be higher by the time you read this note. The advance of the disease and its death rate are alarming and sobering. I cannot image the pain and heartbreak of the families who cannot gather to comfort each other with the normal rituals that surround funerals in our society. Please continue to pray for the doctors, nurses, EMT’s, and first responders who are testing people and treating infected patients; they are all heroes on the front lines. Pray also for wisdom, stamina, and strength for government and public health officials at all levels. Finally, pray that all citizens will comply with the current directives so that the spread of this deadly disease will be slowed and the loss of life minimized.
My heart and prayers go out to each of you, as we adjust to the challenges of radical confinement for our communal well-being. I know that we all yearn for a speedy return to normal, but right now the most loving and kind thing we can do is to remain at home, practice physical distancing, wash our hands frequently, and encourage each other by reaching out to family and friends by telephone, e-mail, or social media, especially those who are over 65. I want to thank many of you who sent me birthday greetings last week and those who have asked about my family’s health. I am grateful that we are all currently healthy and safe, and I pray that all of yours are as well.
Thirty days seem like a long time to shelter in place, but I remind you to seek the gift of patience, which is a great tonic for worry and anxiety. Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer might be just what we need to help us do this. My grandmother had this pinned to the curtain above her kitchen sink. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” These are good words to live by.
Niebuhr later added a second paragraph to this prayer that he often prayed at Heath Evangelical Union Church in Massachusetts where he preached while on vacation during the summer. “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that you will make all things right, if I surrender to your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.”
I hope you will 'tune in' to our third virtual service on line on Sunday. We will celebrate Palm Sunday, one of our most festive services of the year, when the choir usually processes into the sanctuary led by the children waving palm branches, singing, "Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” I ask parents at home to help your children make palm branches from construction paper or even paper bags and wave them when we sing the opening hymn in the service.
Please know that I miss worshiping with you in person, but these virtual services are the next best thing. I yearn for the day when we can be together again in our sanctuary and the classroom and meeting rooms. Until that time comes, I will continue to sing in my head that old hymn, “God Be with You until We Meet Again.” Can I get an “Amen” to that?
Please know that Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends as we all stay home to help ease the burden on our hospitals, urgent care centers, and their medical and support staff. If you should have a need you'd like to share, please email David or the church office.
All in-person church activities - services, meetings, programs - remain suspended for the month of April, until further notice.
We would be remiss if we didn't say a BIG "Thank you!" for your faithful giving. Please know we recognize that for many of us this is an uncertain time. We are grateful that you give as you are able and appreciate your generosity always. As a staff note, Virginia continues to check the mail (and voicemail) daily as she is able.