I was barely settled into my campsite in Moab—the start of a much-anticipated week away—when I got notice that we would be moving into the “Orange Tier.” This shift, finally out of not only the “purple” but also “red” tier should have come as great news. A relief. Instead, my  primary response was anxiety.

I want to be honest with you. There is nothing I love more than being together as a congregation, whether in worship, fellowship, study, sing-alongs, potlucks, you name it. I believe that it is our incarnate, embodied presence together that best unites us as Christ’s body, and allows us to best taste the goodness of God’s kingdom.

But, for an entire year now, these have also been the things that have proven the most dangerous to our church and community. For almost ten months, our health and safety as individuals and a congregation have depended on our distance from one another. And perhaps, for me, like a parent observing the growing independence of a child, there is fear that comes with the expansion of our freedom.

Whatever our responses to this year in quarantine, I pray we will be gentle with one another as we undergo yet another season of transition. I encourage us to tread lightly in our discussions about reopening as different feelings and hopes emerge. I encourage us to listen deeply to the experiences of others, and allow space for difference and disagreement with grace. We will likely move through mixed emotions of both joy and grief, impatience and resistance, fear, discouragement, hope.

This experience has changed us, and will continue to shape us moving ahead. May we put our trust in God’s guiding, and let our grounding be God’s grace.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Darin