Dear Beloved of God, I share with you that my mother Phyllis came to the end of her baptismal journey this past Sunday afternoon [March 14, 2021]. When the time came, she was ready to go. I am grateful for the show of support from this community: prayers for Phyllis, kind words, time saving meals and treats delivered to David and me. For all the caregivers at the Village at the Harbour and the folks at Hospice. And for the ones who sat with Phyllis, and were there with her as her end neared. She asked that we celebrate her life later on when we can gather safely.
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord…” These words are familiar to us, coming from numerous prophetic announcements in the bible. Sometimes it’s good news, and sometimes it’s hard news. No matter which, however, it means get ready, things are breaking loose!
There’s certainly a bit of this feeling in the air as more people are getting vaccinated and pandemic restrictions are partially lifted. We feel more hopeful about summer gatherings including outdoor worship. But all these things will have to be carefully and thoughtfully navigated personally and communally.
As a pastor I’m always viewing things from a biblical and theological perspective. And what comes to mind as I contemplate our community re-gathering in person, is the mandate that Jesus gave us to care for our neighbor. This means starting every conversation about what comes next with the firm resolve to see that no one gets left out. It also means being wise and compassionate about the people who, for various reasons, will take longer to return to public events.
The care of neighbor principle also extends to the conversations that we have with one another about how this year has unfolded. We have different opinions about things. So be kind and gracious. Always assume that we can learn from our neighbors, as much as they learn from us.
Go Peacefully in Christ.
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.