In This Lenten Wilderness
We in the United States have reached two grim milestones here in the first weeks of Lent: a full year of an official pandemic and a half million dead in this country from COVID-19. To all in the St. Luke’s congregation who are continuing to wear masks, sign up for the vaccine, keep social distance, and wash your hands, thank you. Thank you for the care you show for each other in keeping people safe with your precautions. We as people of faith are called to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, a threefold instruction carried out every time we are sure to safeguard those around us and our own health.
With the one-year recognition, however, comes an increased sense of grief at how much we wish we were able to do. I am glad that people were able to come to the drive-through imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday; it was good to see you and put some faces to names and voices I’ve not yet been able to spend time with in person. As we look toward the rocky pathways of these 40 days of Lent, worship services will continue to be online. The current order via the governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), as of February 8, 2021, is that indoor gatherings require masks and must not exceed ten (10) people. That order is in effect through March 29, which is the beginning of Holy Week.
At this time, we at St. Luke’s celebrate having a regular custodial service and office staff who are careful to keep our spaces clean and safe. I hope to be able to hold a small, in-person service for Holy Week or Easter, but I do not want to state anything for certain at this point as the information continues to shift with new data and vaccination levels. (Even if you have been vaccinated, continue to wear a mask and keep your distance. For other tips, see this CNN article on the ways the vaccination helps with gatherings. Curious about the Michigan timeline of vaccinations? See this chart.) Online worship will continue every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time live-streamed on Facebook (if you need a hand with time conversion for where you are, this link is useful) and posted later to our YouTube channel.
I welcome those around the world who have joined us in worship and look forward to safe meetings in person with those here in the Essexville area. I will be in contact with leaders about training ushers for contact tracing information, ensuring people stay distant and wear masks, and ensuring the safety of any gathering we are able to have. Thank you for your continued support of and engagement with this one part of the Body of Christ as we live into the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world.
In the peace of the Spirit,
Rev. Jenaba D. Waggy