Morning, March 15, 2020
As you gather in unique ways this morning to respect the State of Emergency in our nation, Washington, D.C., and your respective states, I am praying for you. I am also deeply grateful for your creativity and collaborative spirits in sharing ideas, offering one another assistance, and overcoming difficulties. The saints of The Baltimore-Washington Conference always rise to the challenge.
We are not living in fear by respecting these requests; we are actually caring for one another and our communities by keeping one another safe.
As we lament our physical absence, may we use that yearning to draw closer to God. We can turn this unfortunate and painful time of social distancing into our Lenten lament and prayer. In that way, even this valley of the shadow of absence can deepen our discipleship and strengthen our resolve.
I pray for those providing essential services to our most vulnerable populations. I know you are going to great lengths to meet their needs while also practicing safe hygienic methods. May God's grace surround you and anoint you against any harm.
I am praying especially for those in quarantine, those yet trying to return to the United States, and those on the front lines working to bring an end to this COVID-19 pandemic.
God is with us; God is great and greatly to be praised. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord!
Blessings and peace,
Evening, March 15, 2020
You did it! Whether it was through a conference call, Zoom, Facebook live, Skype, emailed liturgy, or united contemplative prayer, the saints gathered this morning in impressive ways. There are reports of tears flowing as the Spirit moved through virtual platforms, increased participation, individuals joining the church today (becoming new members), and even a baptism! As one pastor declared, "We had CHURCH!"
Beloved, nothing can separate us from the love of God ... nothing!
Now, please don't fall into the trap of comparison or whether it was "perfect" or "flawless" or "high tech" enough. Perfection is never the marker or requirement. We are not called to be a perfect people; rather, we are called to be a faithful people. As one pastor mentioned today, the early Jesus followers worshipped in house churches without all the bells and whistles we think we need today. If persons were of one accord, received the Word of God, sang songs or heard prayers and gave God the glory -- that was the mark! That was spot-on! That was enough!
Thank you for your creativity.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
Thank you for your adaptive hearts.
Thank you for pressing through in the wilderness.
Thank you for being the skilled servant workers of God.
Blessings and Peace,
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling