Wandering in the Desert can be a Time to Dream
After their escape from Egypt where the children of Israel had been slaves they wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching the promised land. It was a time to learn their dependence on God and to dream of the kind of life that would please God in their new land. The shape of this life is the character of the Law given by Moses, how one lives in relationship to God, and how one lives in relationship to one another. Jesus went voluntarily into the desert after his baptism to pray and discern what his ministry, his message and actions would be like. There, though the devil tempted him to make it about his own importance, his own popularity, his own well-being, Jesus chose a ministry seeking loving relationship with God and neighbor, losing self in order to find it.. The distancing imposed on us by our need to not spread this virus could be a time in the desert for us; a time to examine our life lived with God and neighbor. A time to ask, "Are there blessings I am not pursuing because I was frozen in old routines and could not see the possible?" Well, our old routines are broken. It is time to dream. And when we exit the wilderness we will enter a promised land.
Guidelines from the Bishop
The bishop and his staff have worked very hard to understand our situation, and based on the realization that the population of our communities is very vulnerable he has effectively said we will not be worshipping together in one place through May 24th. He has also published very helpful guidelines which you can read online
. He encourages us to find new and creative ways to be community in this time.
Zoom Meetings are a Huge Success
I have had several very wonderful times on Zoom with people this week. Someone even called it miraculous. The fellowship was so sustaining. If you want help getting started call me, Father John at 914-512-8156. I will set up a practice session with you so we can get it to work. Meeting together is important for as the wise person realizes already, this separation is going to take a toll on us if it has not already begun to do so. Zoom is one way we can meet with others.
The Grace of Communion is Received
The Bishop is also recommending that we pray a prayer for spiritual communion at the service. One such prayer may be found here
. The Book of Common Prayer on page 457 reads: "If a person desires to receive the Sacrament, but, by reason of extreme sickness or physical disability, is unable to eat and drink the Bread and Wine, the Celebrant is to assure thet person that all the benefits of Communion are received, even though the Sacrament is not received with the mouth." .
Would you like to Say the Daily Prayers of the Church?
Forward Movement has a webpage where you can follow the entire text of morning or evening prayer with the correct readings and psalms for each and every day. Here is the link: https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/