Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Today we received two monumental pieces of news. Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in PA to close physical locations
and Bishop Kevin has called on all churches in the diocese to continue the suspension of in-person gatherings, including worship, through at least April 12
. This means that, for the first time, we will not be able to celebrate Holy Week and Easter together in our church.
Especially in times such as these, I think it’s helpful to remember what it is to be a part of the Church, not just St. Thomas Episcopal Church, but THE
Church, which is the body of Christ. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12
that we are all members of the body of Christ and that, as members, we must care for one another, and understand that if one member of the body suffers, we all suffer—and if one member of the body is honored, we all rejoice.
This is a time in which the truth of that statement is all too apparent. Though we may wish to ignore advice to stay in our homes as much as possible; to not hoard a year’s worth of toilet paper while others are forced to do without; to cancel vacations and weddings and so many plans we looked forward to—we cannot, in good conscience, be faithful members of the body of Christ while ignoring how our actions can and will affect others. As Bishop Kevin reminds us, the most helpful thing we can do to protect, not only ourselves, but also those around us, is to keep our distance—to avoid gatherings of any size and to stay at home as much as possible.
This means that our Holy Week and Easter celebrations will look different this year. However, we will, in some shape or form which has yet to be revealed, commemorate the events of Christ’s life from Palm Sunday to his glorious resurrection on Easter Day. We will find a way to continue on as a community of faith in these perplexing and uneasy times.
In the midst of all of these changes, I want to take a moment to give thanks—To give thanks for all those who reached out expressing willingness to help others in our church family who may be in need. For all of those who have sacrificed your own comfort for the common good. For all those in the helping professions who continue working in our community in the midst of all the uncertainty we face. For all those who struggle with the reality we are currently living in, that they may find the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding.
And, above all, I want to give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; and his mercy endures for ever.*
I will continue to pray for you all in the days and weeks ahead, and will send messages regularly. You can always reach me via email
or by calling 267-328-7372.