Hello St. Paul’s.
We are coming up on five months now since our lives changed so dramatically. I am grateful for the fact that, so far, very few of our cathedral family members have been sick with the COVID virus and only one has died from it. I’m also deeply grateful for being able to work from home, especially in a home that gives me access to the outdoors and where my workstation is set up by the window. But I have to confess that I have moments, and they are coming more frequently as the weeks wear on, when I am just sick and tired of this COVID way of life. There are nights when it’s hard to get to sleep, and days when I want so badly to break out: to go to the mall or a movie theater or, and especially, to participate in a glorious liturgy in our cathedral, to sing with the choir, and to see the nave filled with all of you.
Even though the world seems to be more deeply broken than ever, there are things that can give us joy. We are blessed to live in a place where the sun shines almost all the time, making the outdoors reliably inviting and brightening our days. I look forward to picking up my mail, daily at home and about every 2-3 weeks at the cathedral, and finding notes and cards from many of you. I love it when someone drops a bag of zucchini or tomatoes on my doorstep. Even the many, many Zoom meetings are a joy, because I get to see your faces and hear your voices. When I write thank-you letters and pastoral notes, I am lifted up by thinking about you. When we pray together each morning it doesn’t matter that we are scattered all over: we are joined together by our love of God and our common commitment to this extraordinary community.
The work of the church doesn’t stop just because we cannot gather in our beautiful building. Our Sunday forums on Waking Up White have engaged well over 100 people, and over 80 people have committed to a Sacred Ground circle. Reconciliation is the mission of the church – you can look it up in the catechism – and our work right now as a church and as a country is the work of racial reconciliation and the healing of 400 years of unjust social structures. I am so encouraged to see your energy and willingness to be transformed: it gives me hope for our world and for the future that lies beyond this pandemic.
Hang in there, and take note of the things that give you joy. See you on Sunday.