“Life is a journey. When we stop, things don't go right.”
I was chatting with a parish leader about a survey we were doing for them. "Should parishioners respond based on how the parish is now, or how it was pre-COVID?" the leader asked. I found myself dumbfounded by the question. Now to be fair to the leader, it’s a common question and one I have thought myself at times. But as we pass the year mark of this pandemic, it suddenly sounded absurd. If we are asking about someone’s experience of their community, how could we ask them to go back a whole year and answer? I couldn’t help but wonder, how often am I trying to assess something in my life or leadership based on the memory of what used to be instead of what is in front of me today?
Only the Lord knows when this pandemic will end and it’s highly probable that life will, in some respects, change forever. We have experienced a great "emptying" this year. Emptying our offices, emptying our schedules, emptying our travel and social plans. As we conclude this second Lent in the pandemic, what else do we still need to empty? How will we choose to fill all of those now emptied spaces of our life? What are we still holding on to that is holding us back from a real relationship with Christ? When we emerge from this once-in-a-century challenge, what would be worse - that life has changed forever or that it hasn’t changed at all? As we draw closer to Holy Week, will we also draw closer to the truth of how Christ on the cross changed the course of human history and how we are called to be changed, to be redeemed by the crosses we carry? Prayers as you seek not to look back this Lent, but to look forward to what God has promised all of us.
P.S. This Tuesday, March 16 at 7pm EDT, I will be joining a good friend, Fr. Paul Soper from Boston for a conversation about our Church coming out of this pandemic. You are welcome to join the webinar by registering here.