“7 Beloved, let us [unselfishly] [a]love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience].” 1 John 4:7
Life has been different for us this season in that we are doing things we have never had to do. Yet You are faithful for this reason – the Church can always shine through. Help us remember that the Church was never meant to be confined within the four walls of a physical place. We, the People, are the church and we are designed to inhabit and bring light to every space. We are worshipping in virtual spaces and not physically with each other. Yet we are still together, spiritually connecting with each other. Social distancing cannot be social disconnection. You stretch us and invite us to come together in new ways for each other. Remind us to be more intentional to love, pray, care for, check on and be encouraging to one another. After our prayers to you, remind us to put legs on those prayers by moving in the direction of what we are called to do.
Extend grace — Extend grace to yourself. I will repeat. Extend grace to yourself. This is new for all of us. Be kind , extend grace to yourself and others. My pastor said that we need to release our Pre-COVID 19 expectations. Give yourself grace. If you create a business, a book and passion project, that’s fine. If you don’t do any of these things and learn to rest, you’re fine.
Essential giving — We are grateful for hospital staff, grocery workers, food service, childcare workers, delivery service providers and others who go out each day. Find creative ways to be a blessing. My friend posted an invitation to those who are essential workers to share their CashApp name in the comments so she could treat them to virtual meal and invited the rest of us to do the same. Reach out to them and ask them what they need. My friend is a chaplain and his response was simply “Laugh with me. — laughter is my medicine.” Be an essential blessing.
Ministry of Presence – I have learned about the ministry of presence and intentional listening. This season has filled some with moments of grief, sadness and anxiety. Take time to listen to each other. It’s okay not to be okay. Give yourself the gift of having someone listen to you. Listening is an act of love. One of the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. The Chinese word for listen includes the symbol of ears for hearing, eyes to see, mind to think, heart to feel and undivided attention. God has also given us the gifts of counselors and therapists who can accompany us on this journey.
Give something away — Be a blessing each day. Order some groceries for someone. Since parents are now homeschooling their children longer than expected, offer to read a book online. Send an email or text or write a letter. Take time to call someone.
Sisters, social distancing isn’t social disconnection. Let’s find ways to creatively be present for each other.
Rev. Sheila P. Spencer