For a Year of Distanced Worship
Today at Madison Mennonite, we round out a full year of worshipping distanced–a sobering, disappointing, and often discouraging reality…while also a testament to the Spirit’s faithfulness in all circumstances.
We are taking some time today and in our Koinonia Groups next week to hold the tension, grief, and anxiety of the last year. It feels important–necessary, even–to mourn the pain that the pandemic has caused: bodily, relational, emotional, economic, spiritual pain.
Then there are the divisions that have emerged or grown more obvious: cracks within familial relationships, extreme othering within political discourse, racial inequity.
Yet I think it’s important, as the church, to recognize that some of the divisions, like physical distancing, have emerged for the sake of community and the love of neighbor. This purposeful distancing is counter-intuitive for Christ-followers, and yet it aligns with the call to think bigger, beyond ourselves, from what’s good for a few to what’s good for the collective.
These are complicated, contradicting, and disorienting realities. I am hoping that our world grows a little gentler this week, as we hold space for ourselves and for one another. So many are dealing with pandemic-inflicted wounds that are still tender to the touch. I pray for God’s grace to abound.
A Congregational Prayer of Remembrance
This has been a strange year.
Disorienting and isolating for some,
liberating and full of opportunity for others,
our experiences are disparate.
As we look back on this year, O God,
help us be gentle with ourselves and with one another.
Draw us together in curiosity and compassion.
Unite us in our common commitments,
to loving our neighbors,
extending the tables piled high with grace,
as we continue to seek your reign in our midst.
We give you thanks, Abiding Spirit,
for journeying with us,
renewing our spirits
through the generosity of this Beloved Community.
In Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.