the good and bad of a pandemic

Sometimes we learn significant lessons from challenging times. I believe that is certainly the case in all the months that we as a nation and the world have been dealing with the pandemic. Without warning families who seldom spent much time together were in lock down. For some it has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know one another again, especially children and their parents. Perhaps they have gotten to know new things about each other and have grown in appreciation of each others gifts and interests. Sadly for others it has been a time of deep stress and testing. There has been disappointment in discovering how far they have grown apart and how little they actually know about one another. Reports indicate that many couples are filing for divorce or at least separating. Is it possible that we are no longer willing to work together for reconciliation? Do we no longer consider the vows we make sacred? I have no intention of answering those questions for anyone. I throw them out for personal soul searching. Mostly I pray that this has been a time of bonding with loved ones and getting to appreciate new things about one another. 

Of course there has been so much good to observe in these covid-19 days. There has been an amazing outpouring of love, concern and care shown by dedicated and essential workers from medical personnel, first responders, sanitation workers, grocery store workers, delivery people and untold individuals working to feed those who are currently food insufficient. The Montgomery County Inter-Faith food we support has given out 7,248 bags of groceries since March. Our congregation has been and continues to be very faithful in this endeavor. It is truly a blessing to see how many of you have dropped off food and supplies. You are awesome. If you have not had a chance to do so, please give it some thought. The need is far from over. If you can’t deliver to the church please let me know and we will arrange for someone to pick up your donation. You may also order online and have items sent to the church address. 

Thank you to those who have made calls or sent notes to others. This may be a time of in-person isolation but it is more important than ever to try to stay connected as a community of of faith. It is why I send out reflections, it is why we continue to post the video of our services, it is why I would like to offer a zoom Bible Study. If that is something you would be interested in please let me know. I would be interested in knowing if you prefer an evening session or day time. If there is enough interest I would gladly offer both times. 

I hope you are doing well as this drags on but I ask that you consider the innumerable sufferings of the world, the untold stories of people who have not had loved ones at their side in the hospital, even at the point of death, the agonies of not being able to see elderly parents or to be able to hold a funeral when they have died. My heart truly breaks over this situation as I have even experienced some of this wrenching sorrow first hand and seen the deep ongoing pain it has caused. 

There is much to learn in such times and for me one of the most important is to be grateful for all I have. How blessed to have my health, a job, people I love dearly, a roof over my head and more than enough food. If I ever took it for granted in the past mea culpa. 

Let us pray:

Look mercifully, O Lord, we implore you, on the affliction of your people. Let not our sin destroy us, nor hopelessness overwhelm us, but let your boundless mercy save us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

[from: Lutheran Service Book, Pastoral Care Companion. Concordia Publishing 2007]

The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier