“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope”
1 Peter 3:15-18
While I never considered Southeastern PA a "hotspot" growing up, unfortunately in these pandemic days it continues to hold that distinction. As other places across the country begin to slowly lift restrictions, the team at CLI has been trying to help those parishes strategize their plans and consider all the many logistics involved with reopening. On one such Zoom planning session, it was clear that COVID-19 tensions were running high. One person on the parish team staff was talking about all the conflicting letters and voicemails she was receiving from individuals who were either A) angry that the church building was closed for part of the day, B) angry that the church building was open for the other part of the day, or C) angry that Father had mentioned offertory again. Another exasperated member of the staff asked, "When are we ever going to be able to bring everyone back together?" As I listened, it struck me that that question was actually much deeper than simply logistics.
We have been isolated now for more than two months, desperate for the normal connections and relationships we used to have. As our angst grows either because our shelter-in-places are extended or because they seem to be drawing to a close, am I preparing my mind and my heart to connect again? Regardless of the timeline of my point of reentry, am I remembering the whole point of reentry - to connect, to be in relationship and to be together? In the plans I may be making or the circles I may be preparing to rejoin, am I fostering a wholeness or digging a deeper hole of separation? Will the oneness I promote be that of my own devices and vices or the unity I am called to build in the Lord? Will the witness of my life "be an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope?" Prayers that wherever you are it’s cooling down as the weather heats up.