“Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen”
It is hard to believe that this Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of a million pounds of scaffolding falling on our building. We rallied in amazing ways in those early days and creatively looked for new ways to be the church. Little could we have imagined the challenges that awaited us in 2020. The wisdom of the prayer book once again gives us this same collect to reflect on. It is easy and in fact completely understandable to be anxious about earthly things. And yet, the more we grasp after an elusive sense of control and certainty, the less likely we are to hold fast to those things that endure.
Our staff and Vestry had a chance to share memories of those days following September 19, 2019 this past week. The memories were so encouraging. Whether it was Ruby’s quip that reminded us that everyone had come through it safely and that we could always fix “bricks and wood,” or fond memories of beloved parish events that were reimagined such as Christmas to the Street or the Blessing of the Costumes. I was reminded anew that we have a foundation that has allowed us to hold fast to that which matters. The bonding that happened in those early days has sustained us and prepared us for the challenges we are currently experiencing.
That which matters of course is our grounding in Jesus Christ. It has been painful and sacrificial to be separated, and hopefully with improving numbers in the city we will soon be able to regather in modest ways. But the lessons we are learning are important ones. We know in new ways that the church is us. We know our service and connection to one another is resilient and that when we rely on God and one another, there is enough. To live abundantly is a spiritual practice, and on the days I fall into a scarcity mentality, I’m grateful for those of you who remind me that this is not God’s vision for us. I said in the sermon the Sunday after the scaffolding that we have what we need. We still do.
I’m grateful for your faithfulness in the past year and look forward to how God will continue to guide us forward.