a resource for this time of COVID-19 social distancing
By the Rev. Bruce W. Gray
This week Fishers, and the rest of the country, has experienced record breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths and other painful statistics. I have read lots of helpful and insightful articles and essays about the why's behind this disappointing situation, and they are easily accessible from reputable sources like the New York Times and Washington Post. Both are sharing most of their COVID-19 coverage for free online. I recommend both highly.
In Fishers, we are facing once again staying home except for necessary outings for work, school, health care, or groceries. Holy Family's worship is once again only online, as well as the various formation and social activities of the parish. The gift of experience means we can offer higher quality online events and gatherings. The downside of experience is knowing that no matter how inspiring, enriching, and joyful online time together can be, it is no substitute for being together in person.
On the home front, having gone through these conditions in the spring, the novelty has worn off. Perhaps because I have continued to live COVID cautiously even during partial reopening times, the home supply and grocery cabinets are still well stocked, there are puzzles still to assemble for the first time, hobby supplies ready to use, and lots of streaming content and video games to enjoy. This go round we will be winterizing the garden beds rather than planting flowers and veggies, and perhaps even chopping some firewood to get exercise since digging in compost is becoming out of season. So there will be some novelty to a fall shut-down compared to the one last spring.
But some things will be just the same, particularly in our walks with Christ. The need to stay in the here and now in order to stay fully connected with God. The need to switch off all electronics and give God some space to get a word in, whether it is while sitting in a holy space in our homes, watching an autumn sunset from the backyard, or taking a quiet walk around the neighborhood. Doing the work, the ministry, of creating and maintaining connections with other people, especially those who might be isolating alone. The need to pray, to serve, to learn new things in the name of God is still with us, and probably more important than ever.
Most of all, we must keep the faith that God is continuing to love us more than we can imagine, so much so that we have plenty of love to share. That truth, I have come to realize, is the core of most sermons I have preached over more than 35 years of ordained ministry, and yet it is a truth that takes different forms, different expressions, over and over in my life and in the lives of people around me. So we must keep our eyes open along with our minds so we do not miss a moment of God reaching out to us with loving grace, both for ourselves and for us to share. Then we will have a stronger hope of being able to get through this time of COVID-19 with our sanity and spirits intact.
So pray for the world, the nation, Indiana, Fishers, for the growing number of Holy Family parishioners with COVID-19, and for all the people close to you wherever they are. Know that God connected us all when we were each created, and whether near or far, continues to bind us together in a mystical and powerful way that is beyond our understanding, because it is through God's infinite love for us all and all creation.