Chelsey and I lived just south of Bethlehem for about a year (2013-14) while volunteering with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program. I remember consistently being overwhelmed by two distinct things at once: (1) never feeling more alone in the world and (2) never feeling time move more slowly. And, for the first time since a summer Amtrak trip out to Seattle with my Aunt Kris and Cousin Augie in 1996, I felt desperately homesick.
Being so far away from all of my familiar friends and family (except Chelsey, of course) revealed a new deep need to connect. Long-time relationships, I admit I probably had been taking for granted, all of the sudden really mattered to me and required a different kind of effort to maintain given the difference in time zone and the physical distance between us.
I wonder how the church might be experiencing similar feelings right now, as we quarantine ourselves, sheltering in place. I wonder how God might be revealing a deep need to each of the members of Christ’s body during this time of separation throughout the entire world. How might God using physical distance to draw us close together rather than pull us apart?
As we continue to regularly gather online for worship and coffee hour on Sundays, completing our Lenten journey and, together, approach Holy Week, let’s lean into God’s invitation into what might be a new Lenten practice: to stay put and draw close. You are exactly where you need to be.