“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20).
I have always loved this promise of Jesus, that whenever we are together, he is with us. There are two parts of this that are powerful for me. First, we don’t have to DO anything special to make Jesus be present – he promises to be with us, period. Second, we need each other. We experience Jesus’ presence in community, wherever two or more are gathered. I love that Jesus’ promise to be with us ensures that we are never alone. We have each other.
And yet, by far one of our current biggest challenges is our inability to do precisely this gathering. Today it might read more accurately: “where two or three are gathered… stay at least 6” apart and wear a mask.”
Dear St. Mark family, I recognize this pain deeply. Months of isolation, not being able to gather, let alone share the holy meal together has been very difficult for all of us. How easily we were able to take for granted the simple communal acts of seeing each other on Sunday mornings, offering hugs, sharing a cup of coffee together, and gathering around the Lord’s Table. Trust that I miss you all very much, and I know the collective grief in our community is weighing on our hearts.
And yet God’s love continues to gather us and nurture us in surprising new ways. While virtual community can never replace our in person gatherings, I am grateful for the ways technology has allowed us to continue to “gather” so that we may experience Jesus present with us. I thank you all for the ways you have continued to show up, to serve, to support one another, and to pray for each other and our world.
As we continue to move ever forward, I continue to explore ways to support you all in faith. Please know that our worship team is currently exploring ways to safely offer communion services outside for those who wish to attend. Home communion for all members by request will also soon be available, as well as home visits on a limited, restricted basis. If all else fails, pastoral “visits” can occur by phone or zoom. I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Because the truth is, we need each other. We are made to be in community, and the pain of not being able to gather as a community highlights just how important the St. Mark community is to each and every one of us. Rest assured, Jesus promises to be with us continues to be true as we are still gathered in God’s love.
Blessings on your week.