Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown… – part of a prayer from The Lutheran Book of Worship inspired by Walt Whitman
When we return to gathering in-person at church, it would be great if we could celebrate as if nothing has happened. But we can’t, nor should we. We are on paths as yet untrodden and we know some of the perils if we aren’t smart and cautious moving forward.
Our life together as the body of Christ will continue to be formed and transformed by the ebb and flow of COVID-19. Until there is a proven vaccination and effective treatment we must do all we can to prevent new waves of infection.
Our Michigan Conference will be offering guidelines for reopening early this month. I imagine it will allow for individual context of ministry settings as well as baseline recommendations for us all. I expect we will return in phases, focusing on safety and the best practices we’ve learned from medical professionals and researchers. We may never get back to how things used to be, and we shouldn’t.
This pandemic forced us to do things in ways we probably should have been doing before. Now that things have changed and we’ve adapted we need to keep pushing ourselves to be innovative. We need to keep using technology and virtual gathering options. Even when we are worshipping in-person we still need to offer our services on-line. I know that shut-ins have really appreciated this opportunity. The learning curve was steep – but we’ve flattened that curve in the last two months – and little by little improvements are being made.
This is especially important for those who may not be able to return because their risk at getting the virus is higher than others. We don’t want to force our most vulnerable church members to make a choice between keeping themselves safe and participating in-person.
God has always called us into ventures with unknown endings, our task is to remain faithful and wise as we move forward on the journey.
peace & blessings,