Last week I shared with you reports from our family trip out west to visit family and to attend the funeral for Courtenay’s aunt (who was like a second mother).
Along with all the much needed visits with family not seen for years, we managed to also pick up COVID-19.
It has been a powerful insight into how this pandemic has hit us right where some of our most important relationships and activities are. As human beings we need to have time for community. Family gatherings, Sunday morning worship, coffee with friends and neighbours, time at the gym, breakfast club, serving on that volunteer board, playing on sports teams… so many of the things that we do to keep sane, the the relationships that make us feel grounded and known, the keep us going day to day, week to week.
So many things that zoom or Facebook Live streams, or phone calls can only do so much to emulate.
Last week, I said that this new world we are living in is going to keep looking like this for quite a while. COVID-19 cases are surging everywhere (again). 2nd Booster shots are being recommended. And there always looms in the background the possibility of another variant that could make our lives more difficult.
Before our family trip, I would have said that we just need to accept these new ways of connecting with community. But now I recognize how important being with those that we love truly is.
So rather than accepting, I think we need to, are being called to, adapt. We are being called to change. The world has changed and so must we.
The thing is that we don’t really know what we are adapting to or changing to quite yet. But I do know that prioritizing the health and safety of our community while also making space and opportunity for that community to come together in a variety of ways is important.
And that is something we are not so used to doing, prioritizing so obviously competing and contradictory things: Being together is a risk and our need to be together.
Thankfully, we DO come from a tradition and community of faith that includes many examples of living in tension. We boldly declare that we are sinners and saints. We confess that Jesus is both Human and Divine. We receive bread that is body and wine that is blood. We proclaim that we are people who die to sin in the waters of baptism, only to be raised to new life.
And we will figure out how to be people for whom being together is a public health risk and who need to gather for our health and sanity. Something tells me that God is already way ahead of us on this and has been calling us into this place all along (more on that next week!).