Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?                        

Esther 4:14b NKJV

            This verse from Esther keeps going through my head. This is a lot to take in. Recently, I sat in on an online pastor meeting of 50 traumatized pastors, probably much more traumatized from closing their church doors than from the threat of coronavirus. Everything about the coronavirus goes against our deep calling as pastors. Most of us will need to learn how to minister online. We will have to create technical skills that we never have needed before, and we just have to do everything differently.

          The challenge of writing the Messenger article is that we have to write for the following month usually two weeks before that month happens, so we are predicting what will come next. Sometimes I have gotten it totally wrong. One August, I wrote for September saying something about how our kids are back in school now, and then there was a teacher strike and all the kids were still at home on summer break. So, I am letting you know that I am writing this on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, two days after a Sunday worship that didn’t happen. Now our kids are out of school for six weeks, restaurants are closed, sports gone, Disneyland closed, and the worst, Powell’s Books and the libraries have closed. I have no idea how to project into April today. Every day has felt like a lifetime has been lived.

          So, today is more of a journal entry than a Messenger article -- perhaps just to try and make sense of all this. Normally, the Messenger would be filled with Easter things. Articles about the Easter egg hunt, Easter brunch and purchasing Easter lilies as well as Palm Sunday and Holy Week would be on every page of the Messenger. At this point, I truly do not know what the future holds. I do not know if we will have an Easter service in person or online. But we will have Easter service. And whatever day we come back together, that day will be celebrated as Easter Sunday in all its glory. But even in Lent, every day is Easter. We celebrate the risen Lord every day, Mondays, Saturdays and even on coronavirus-closed Sundays.

            I hope by the time you’re reading this we will have figured out how to hold worship online. Even better, I hope we’re back together to worship in person by then. At this point in time we are all scrambling, we are all trying to figure which end is up, it is scary, it is frightening, but it doesn’t change who we are at the core. We are a community who cares for one another. Going online is just a new way to connect with each other. We are a community that takes care of its neighbor in the best possible way. Already there have been people stepping up saying they can help people with groceries or deliveries that are needed.

         The blessing for me through this very strange time has been noticing the blessings. I am much more grateful for little things like toilet paper, for example. I am grateful every time I see hand sanitizer at the front of the store. I am very grateful that my kids are not at school; I feel that they are safer from the virus at home, and my daughter from college is home, so I get bonus time with her. I have been calling my parents more than I ever have before, and the hustle and bustle of crazy mornings is gone. I am learning new things daily, and I love to learn. And at the end of this I will be very technically caught up, or at least better at technology. And just like before I create art, read, study the Word, and pray.

          We have all been called to such a time as this. And that calling is to create new things: new ways to do things, new ways to connect to others, and to find those things of old that it turns out are still very useful, like the telephone, and stamps. We will get through it together as a community that starts today as every day: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

In grace,

Pastor Susan

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