By Conference Minister Diane Weible
Friends, I know it’s hard. We are in the midst of Advent and when this pandemic began back in March, we had hoped that by now we would all be in our churches, worshipping together for this sacred season. As hard as it is to be apart, my message this week is simple. Please do not plan any in person gatherings this Advent and Christmas season.
It is painful, I get that. We are all tired of not seeing one another; not hugging; not being able to see each other’s smile. We are lonely and some of us are alone.
The hard reality is, that until we have a vaccine and know that it is safe to gather again, the best thing we can do for our siblings in Christ and for ourselves is to stay home and continue to share virtual worship.
I know that we are receiving mixed messages in the news and from various health department missives and, most recently, even in the Supreme Court. Because we want reality to be different, we may be tempted to believe what we are hearing because it supports our desire to gather and experience Christmas in the ways that are most comforting and meaningful to us.
Just because the Supreme Court has made a ruling saying churches cannot be told not to gather does not mean it is safe for us to do so. We are people of faith and we are community. We make it our life’s practice to care for the most vulnerable and to support one another. In this time, at this moment, that means we worship differently. We make new traditions. We find new ways to share this important time in our liturgical life together.
As we begin this Advent season, may we hear the words of Isaiah in a new way: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” May the light we carry to our friends and neighbors and loved ones be a light that shines despite the physical separation. May our Advent and Christmas traditions, although different this year, create a new opportunity to share and support one another so that next year, when we remember this year, we remember the multitude of ways we shared Christ’s light with the world, despite the limitations of separation.