Weariness. It’s the theme I notice as I speak to different members of our congregation, colleagues, and friends this week. A tiredness and fatigue with our current situation that seems to change daily and yet remains the same. Having spent more time in our home than ever, the longing to get out and be with people increases. Then there are the myriad of voices, opinions, and agendas for which we must use our discernment to sort out. Because we seek to do it in the most faithful way possible we ask, where does love lead us? What does love for God and love of neighbor call us to do in this time?
For one, we continue to be the church. The church that Seeks God gathering in worship and prayer each week. The church that keeps learning to Love Like Jesus as we care for one another through phone calls, Sunday morning bible study, Zoom birthday greetings, or rides to the Community Food Bank. The church that Serves the World through acts of justice and compassion in our act of staying home or wearing a mask to protect others in public; using our voice to advocate for others in calls to representatives or writing postcards to get out the vote; or donating from the gifts God give us to provide food and basic necessities for others. Though things may be different, we continue to be God’s children embraced in God’s love and empowered by God’s spirit to join in God’s work.
When the weariness comes and feels heavy upon us, when it makes us feel far from God or unable to serve others, it can make us forget all this. Forget that we can turn to one another. That we can turn to God. That we can be honest about how we feel. Say what frustrates us. Express our anger. Speak of the ways we are discouraged. Acknowledge our experience for what it is and know it is okay. There is no right or wrong in this. I recognize, however, that sharing of this kind is counter-cultural in a society that values individuality and the need to make it on our own above all else. Yet, the emphasis on community, not individuality, is the way of God’s reign.
I am grateful to Susan Harris, Lori Bryant, and Mary Alice Do for giving us an example of this in sharing their experiences with mental health challenges during our worship service last Sunday. Honesty of that kind takes courage and provides a model of how being vulnerable in the truth about ourselves can bring healing. It also reminds us of the scripture’s claim that when one of us hurts, we all hurt because in God we belong to one another. Thus, we included a prayer in the service called the Prayer for a Pandemic written by Cameron Bellm. It is pictured above. Together, may we “find ways to be the loving embrace of God.”