FATHER DAVID’S BLOG OF 3/27/2020:
“If you are searching, you must not stop until you find. When you find, however, you will become troubled. Your confusion will give way to wonder. In wonder you will reign over all things. Your sovereignty will be your rest.”
(Gospel of Thomas, saying 2)
Part of my morning practice is to reflect on an ancient text such as the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, or a text such as the Gospel of Thomas. This practice, this sacred reading of the text, is also known as Lectio Divina and is an ancient spiritual practice that I highly recommend and in fact will be offering via Zoom beginning in the next couple of weeks.
What strikes me about this saying is the first two sentences: “If you are searching, you must not stop until you find. When you find, however, you will become troubled.” At the moment many of us are searching for answers to our questions and the answers to our questions are not readily available to us at the moment.
In the Book of Common Prayer there is a wonderful prayer that the priest or celebrant says at the service of Holy Communion at a funeral. I am always moved when I say these words in this prayer:
“For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended.”
Life has changed and not ended are appropriate words to describe where we find ourselves today. To be completely honest with you, I am scared with the increasing spread of COVID-19. Sadly, it is only a matter of time when someone we love will test positive with the virus.
We are all searching at the moment and I have a feeling that through this difficult time we will be changed as individuals and how we do church.
How We Do Church
What I mean by how we do church is more than Sunday morning worship.
As so many have said, this is a time for the church to truly be the church, which means that church is so much more than the physical building. It is praying daily for one another. It is picking up the phone or writing an email to someone to let them know that you are thinking of them. It is taking a walk with someone while practicing social distancing yet still connecting with them.
When we are able to return and worship as the larger community it will be glorious but no doubt we will have been changed. That change, as the text above from Thomas says, might confuse us because during this time we might have to live differently and develop new habits that are meant now to keep us safe but in the long run might lead to us leading healthier and more faithful lives. One thing for sure is my faith is growing even in this age of uncertainty and I hope yours is as well.
So my friends, please take care of yourselves. Please know that I am as well. You remain in my prayers always.
Thank you as well to members of SsAM who have reached out to me expressing concern about our live streaming during this time of COVID-19. For this week Emily and I will celebrate communion from the rectory at 10:00 Sunday morning, March 29.
The top quote is one of the wisdom sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, one of the Gnostic Gospels unearthed in Egypt in the middle of the 20th century. For more about the Gnostic Gospels, I invite you to Google for more information.
Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765