This morning the sun rose. The cat meowed at my door demanding love and fresh water. My five year old asked for cartoons and cuddles. All the things that mark a very normal morning in the Stephens household. It didn’t take long though for my conscious mind to remember that in many ways today is not normal and that we are all collectively living under a new normal. As much as I would like this not to be true it still is true.

Now I and all of you could allow this new reality to drown us in a sea of anxiety and grief. We could allow fear to rob us of any joy this day might bring. Or we could remember that the changes and restrictions brought about by the pandemic are not the only things that are true.

What is also true is that we are the right people for this exact moment in time and God has been preparing us all along for it. This preparation was happening every time we came to church, and every time we studied the Bible, and every time we prayed, and every time we sung a song of worship and every time we reached out in love and service or allowed another to help us.

Because he has prepared us for this moment we know what to do. Practice kindness. Pray often. Find ways to bless others. Look out for those who are vulnerable. Let go of the things which don’t really matter. Love deeply those around us.

It’s time to lean into our faith and show those around us who and whose we are. It’s time to be the church wherever we find ourselves today. As always, remember you can do hard things. You are not alone. God is with you. Let us pray.

Why is this happening? You know how we hate this, how our souls recoil at the thought. You know how anxious and fearful we are.
We want to run far from this but have nowhere to go. It is hard to stay positive.
It is hard to be strong. We are tired and uncertain.
Our souls groan with sighs to deep for words.
Help us, for we can barely breathe. Be our breath.
Remind us that you go before us and that even if we flee you will go with us. Strengthen us for the days ahead. Help us to be the people you have called us to be. Be our words. Be our courage. Be our peace. Amen