The simple answer is that we could begin gathering in small groups for outdoor worship services, keeping our distance from one another and avoiding singing. But at this time of year we would have to meet between midnight and 7 a.m. to avoid losing worshipers to heat stroke! And even then, the most vulnerable people in our congregation would, very appropriately, stay away. That’s the very best we could do face-to-face: a very limited worship service at an awkward time of day, with only a subset of the congregation able to consider participating. For now, I think it is better to put our efforts into gathering online (see below for information on finding online worship and Zoom communion and coffee hour) and staying in touch by online chat or phone.
What about those fellowship occasions outside of Sunday morning that have so enriched our lives? Our Inviting & Welcoming and Fellowship Teams are cooking up some plans for fresh new fellowship opportunities when we can get together physically again. Right now, however, you might consider a baby step toward that longed-for normalcy. Some of us are meeting for dinner with one other Esperanza family, dining in the driveway at a good distance from one another. If you think this is safe for you, please consider it. If you need contact information for an Esperanza friend, please call Joni at the office or email her.
Here’s something that’s always possible: Praising God through our acts of love and service—for one another and for our neighbors in need. Feeding ministries, collecting supplies for the Navajo Nation, donating food and other needed items for local neighbors: all this gives glory to God just as surely as we give glory to God when we sing a hymn together on Sunday.
We trust God to care for us. We know that the ravages of this virus are not God’s will for any of us. But God sends help for us in everyday ways, far more often than the miraculous, right? God uses the Centers for Disease Control, the state and county health departments and your primary care physician to care for us. We are wise, I think, to heed what they say.
For anyone who is interested, you can read the thoughts of our Grand Canyon Synod Bishop, Hutterer, in a recent letter here.
Grace, peace, and health to you all, in Jesus’ name.