Today, I identify with the Israelites in the wilderness like never before. While their story of liberation from slavery in Egypt begins with joy, it quickly descends into a camping trip that has gone awry. We began this coronavirus time with hope, grateful for the chance to reevaluate and hear the new ways God is calling us, but right now, it feels like we have been wandering in the wilderness for ages. While God has provided us with moments of respite and encouragement, feeding us along the way, as we enter the 20-something-th week of corona-time, I find myself grumbling along with them.
We began by quickly hunkering down and putting on a brave face, just as the Israelites quickly crossed the Red Sea where Miriam sang a song of rejoicing. But now it has stretched on and on, stretching us along with it. Perhaps the hardest part is that we have no map to follow. We do not know when this will end. As the Leadership Team and I make decisions, there is not often a clear right choice and, no matter what we decide, there will be people who disagree.
Living on the road like the Isarelites is tiring, especially when you don’t know how long you will be on the road. I had hoped that the end was in sight, that we might be able to safely gather as a large group soon, but case counts began to rise again in our state along with the positive test rate. While we have seen fewer deaths, we know that this is still very dangerous for older adults or those with comorbidities. We have been working on other ways to provide for spiritual and relational health by providing small groups for socially distanced fellowship and online studies as well as weekly a sermon and prayers.
Today, Risen Lord Montessori School will begin the school year together. This has been another difficult decision, but the school board met with Cornerstone Montessori Management to understand all of the precautions that will be in place. This year will be very different with limiting parents’ presence in the building, very small enrollment and strict rules monitoring for and closing due to sickness, yet we have not found another way to educate young children. We ask for your prayers as we try to continue to serve our community through our school.
I pray often for each of you. I ask for your prayers for myself and for the whole Leadership Team as we seek to lead Risen Lord Lutheran Church in a way that brings glory to God and helps each of us share God’s love through word and action while also balancing our own personal concerns and needs. If you did not watch Bishop Bill’s message that I shared last week, I encourage you to do so. We know that God goes with us, leading us and guiding us through this wilderness and we look for the ways that God provides sustenance along the way.
In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord,