“As the baptized, as the beloved of God, the challenge in my life is to learn to have deeper trust and confidence in the love of God. Lent is the wilderness space in time, set apart to teach me to trust God’s love once again and to hand myself over to be assumed and consumed by his love, for that is my only hope of redemption. Temper me, O God, with your love that I may learn to trust your love once again. Help my unbelief that I may believe and be healed by your love” (Bishop Allen Shin).
The Episcopal Church is the place I go to hold fast to the love of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus is a comfort because I know that God loves me and that everything will be okay. When I face trouble in my life because I get a little off track, Jesus comes to me. I like to spend a little extra time in prayer and silence. I listen to my favorite songs, Taizé music, and Praise Music that settle my soul. Each of us struggles at times in our lives when we are disoriented by the events in the world. The Corona Virus has and will continue to change the way we live our lives this spring. I recommend that everyone enters into a period of silence and prayer each day. Pray for those all over the world that have been affected by this pandemic. Share your faith and trust that it may be inconvenient for many and tragic for some, but that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). I mentioned last Sunday and on Tuesday night that Jesus comes to us “when our backs are against the wall” (Howard Thurman).
In today’s Gospel Jesus comes to a well in Samaria to get a drink of water. After a simple exchange with the Samaritan woman, a village is converted to the love of God in Jesus Christ. “Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman,’ It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39-42).
I have asked the congregation of St. John’s to follow the guidelines that our bishop has sent out. This includes washing hands, serving communion in one kind (bread only), keeping altar rails and pews cleaned, wearing gloves and using tongs in the kitchen, staying home if you are feeling ill, limiting large gatherings where people are tightly gathered, and by not shaking hands at church. Please be diligent about protecting the vulnerable in our community.
We have an excellent opportunity to share the love of God by centering ourselves and taking reasonable precautions. Please use good pastoral care by listening to how others feel, helping them to have deeper trust and confidence in the love of God, and paying attention to the soothing, still voice of God in their daily prayer life.
In Christ’s love,