Grace to you, and peace!
As we enter the summer months of July and August, in the midst of Reopening Ontario, there is a growing sense of hope that the light at the end of the Covid tunnel is getting brighter. This is certainly good news! It felt amazing last week to have people across the generations gathered in our worship space, and then sharing in conversation outside following the service. Words like, “so good” and “WONDERFUL” describe a few of the feelings that people experienced and then expressed as they reflected on the Sunday morning gathering.
As wonderful as the anticipation is for a return to a more “normal” way of living and worshipping we are still not quite there. And the road from here to there will have its continuing challenges and struggles. We are still living with restrictions that need to be understood and managed. Some are thankful for that. Others are quite impatient about that. Some are so ready to throw away masks and begin hugging again, or at least shaking hands. Others are quite fearful of what new freedoms, and a return to “normal” will bring, and they are not sure they are ready. There remains both excitement and concern around vaccines. Some are eager to share when their second shot is, or was. And would even chart the vaccine status of the whole community if we asked them too! Others are still not convinced about vaccines. And they certainly don’t want to be asked, again, “Are you vaccinated yet?”
The steps to reopening, the return to “normal”, the journey from here to there is one we will all take together, even as we walk at varying paces. We are all in this together but we are not all on the same page. Our understandings differ, our eagerness, readiness, patience and tolerance levels are not the same. But I pray our commitment to each other, regardless of our differences, remains constant and strong.
At our ministerial meeting on Wednesday morning Pastor Rick Brown read from Galatians 5 and one line jumped out at me. “Against such things there is no law (or restrictions).” As we manage the restrictions due to Covid, and relate to each other with our varying understandings and acceptance of these restrictions, may we be reminded of the unrestricted ways we can live and follow Jesus.
22 But the fruitof the Spirit is love,joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the fleshwith its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit,let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5)
The Spirit of God is free, unrestricted to do the Spirit’s work in us! And we are free, unrestricted to let the Spirit work in us and free to let the fruit of the Spirit flow from us to all our relationships. May we each do our part to keep the Spirit free! May we each do our part to let, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, flow freely from us to one another and the world around us! We may not all be on the same page, on this journey we share together, but we can all choose to step with the same Spirit!