Staying Connected Staying Strong

Staying Connected Staying Strong

A message from Rev. Jim

Dear Members and Friends of CCEH,

It’s challenging, isn’t it? This “stay-at-home” time, this “shelter-in-place” thing that has overtaken daily life. Gov. Lamont has strongly urged everyone to stay at home, unless an emergency arises.

This will likely continue for a while. Church Council decided that the current mode of online worship and no in-person ministry related gatherings will continue through Sunday, April 19, at least.

Accordingly, I’ll be sharply curtailing my physical presence in the office as I move to doing most of my work remotely. (Please note that I am readily available by cell phone and email) Joal will likely continue her regular office hours for the near term at least. She and I are in close contact as we continue to coordinate church business.

As I wrote last week, social distancing (I now prefer the term, “physical distancing”) is not the same as spiritual distancing. Our hearts, minds and spirits can still very much be connected through the modern miracle of technology and the ancient spiritual technology of prayer.

Church meetings have moved to online, as has Sunday worship. If you missed our first online worship Sunday, March 22, or want to view it again, the below link will take you to where it’s archived on our church website:

For some, the waiting is the hard part – the not knowing how long this will last. For some the challenge is the physical isolation, for others it’s the new sharing of (competing with your siblings for?) physical space. To this end, I offer the below words from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World. They speak to me in these COVID-19 times, and perhaps you too.

“Waiting is certainly a kind of prayer, especially if you can stand howling, wide-open spaces. Once, between the time my doctor gave me some bad news about my health and the time I was scheduled for surgery to have the bad thing cut out, I found it possible to love my life in ways that had never occurred to me before. I never thought I could value being able to walk around my house and look out all the windows. I never thought of the brickwork on the building where I worked as beautiful before, or the sound of people laughing on the sidewalk outside as welcome signs of life.

I never allowed myself the time to take a bath instead of a shower, or to find out how long the hot water lasted if I were not in a hurry. Waiting, I found speechless intimacy with other people who were living in such wide-open spaces themselves. We lived in a whole different world from those who thought they were fine. We could spend fifteen minutes admiring a rose, a whole hour enjoying a meal. Even if my news had stayed bad instead of getting better, I like to think that these simple pleasures would not have lost their power to console me. They constituted an answer to my prayer for more life, even if that life turned out to be shorter than the one I thought I wanted.

The same thing can happen while you are waiting to learn whether your child will come home, whether your marriage will last, whether the war will end, whether the market will recover. If uncertainties like these are the sort that move people to pray, then that is because they are the ones that remind us how little real sway we have. Our lives are inextricably bound up with the lives of other people. So much depends on things we can never control. A butterfly beats its wings in Beijing, making it impossible to predict the weather in New York.”

We are dispersed, but not despairing. Our bodies are separated but our hearts are together. We are God’s people. We are not alone. We have a compassionate and powerful God! We will get through this, with God’s help.

And in case you’re up for some serious inspiration about what’s possible while being apart physically (but joined in spirit), check out, “Slipped Disc | Believe it: Orchestra plays Beethoven 9th from their homes:”

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