Pastoral Commentary: We can offer them Jesus
By Rev. Karen Lemon, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pratt
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was an age of wisdom, an age of foolishness….it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope.” These words, written in 1859 by Charles Dickens, could have been written this spring. We have been through some extremely trying times, which are not going away completely any time soon. We have seen people dying in such great numbers that mortuaries couldn’t handle it. We have experienced isolation and fear, anxiety and depression. But at the same time, we have seen some of the most selfless, caring, and creative responses by people all over the world.
If we have learned one thing from the last 3 months, it is that people need each other. People need to be connected, and when those connections were broken, we found new ways to make new connections. In person meetings turned to Zoom, Skype, Facebook or other means of connecting with people. Graduations were held on front lawns with parades of cars acknowledging the graduates. Proms were held virtually in front of computer screens. Choirs practiced singing by way of Zoom get-togethers. Doctors saw patients virtually. Non-contact food was left on door steps. Many families experienced family meals together and family time together for the first time in years.
People long to be connected. This is a critical time for churches all over the world. Churches are uniquely situated to fill the void of the loneliness in our society that has been created by the current events. Congregations are full of people who have spent the last 3 months creatively connecting to those around them. Now that the restrictions are loosening up a bit, churches need to use those same creative methods to continue reaching out to those around them. We have seen how neighbors checked up on their neighbors. Those who had more shared with those who had less. Food banks sprung up. Restaurants donated thousands of meals. In some ways, forced separation actually made us closer in other ways. We were created to be together. People want to connect with other people and they want to connect with God. People are hungry, especially now more than ever, for the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a season of darkness, but we have seen light still shining in the darkness.
The church has the means to offer hope. We need to look around us, look at those in our midst who are desperately hoping for some kind of encouraging news. We can offer them assistance. We can offer them friendship. We can offer them good news. We can offer them hope.
And we can offer them Jesus.