Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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June 9, 2022

Sisters and Brothers,
 
Our months together have been wonderful even while Covid has left so many things on hold. After about a year of the pandemic, I recorded a video reflection on what being the church felt like while we sat at home making it up as we went along. Around that time, a joke was circulating on social media that called the pandemic the “Lentiest of all Lents.” (In reference to the stay-at-home instructions beginning in Lent.) It was witty, but it was wrong, and my video reflection was about the error. We were and are NOT fasting and repenting to cleanse our souls in order to bring our lives closer to what God intends and hopes for us. No, we were and are waiting to emerge into a new time, a time that we know is coming, but the hour of that coming remains unknown to us. We are living in the “Adventiest of Advents.”
 
We are waiting, and just like we do in Advent, I hope that our waiting can be filled with preparing our life together for the new life that God intends and hopes for us. The spiritual and material inertia that the pandemic has brought upon us is fraught and must be broken. I want you to embrace some of John the Baptist’s holy impatience and some of Jesus’ zeal so that when the hour comes and restrictions are eased, we will be ready to receive that time with joy. To that end, there is work to be done.
 
First, pray as much and in every way that you can. Pray every day that we will be a light of God’s love to our neighbors. Pray every day that we will be a spiritual refuge for those who need a community of love to care for them. Pray every day that we will be a blessing to those who need spiritual and material comfort. Don’t pray for solutions or ideas or opportunities, simply pray that we will be a light, a refuge, and a blessing. Let’s see how God will transform our life together in response to our prayer.
 
Second, participate as much and in every way that you can. Come to church in person or online. Your presence makes all the difference. Bring your can tabs. Buy some extra food for Lamb’s basket. Buy a quart of stew and give it away as a gift from all of us. Come to Bible Study online on Monday evenings. When asked to serve as a reader or Eucharistic Minister or acolyte or on the Vestry or anything…. Search yourself to find a way to say “yes.” You have been so determined and resilient, and now, with prayer and hope, we get to be partners with God in what God is bringing newly to life.
 
Finally, Kate and I will be away the next two Sundays visiting our family in Oregon on the occasion of our niece’s graduation and then having a couple days at the beach. Clergy from the region have offered to be on-call in my absence if a Pastoral Emergency arises. In case of an emergency, please be in-touch with Cam Oglesby or Betty Pace who will be in-touch with that priest. We will miss you.
  
God Bless,
  
Michael