Naming What Has Been, Hoping For What Will Be

| Weekly Word

Over the past few weeks, I have had multiple conversations with people about where we are in the life and history of the world. There have been several times in which I have shared that I feel the need to be very mindful of the fact that we have just lived through two of the strangest years that any of us have ever seen - years in which just about everyone in the world has been impacted by COVID-19.

Yes, I know that it’s 2022 and that COVID-19’s age is in the name (hint-hint. . . it was first detected in 2019), and with the fast-paced world in which we live, we should have moved on by now, right? In so many ways, most of us have moved on. I wonder, though, whether or not we have had the chance to mark where we have been through all of this and the things we have lost (and gained).

In terms of losses, there have been many:

  • Maybe you know someone who died as a direct result of contracting the virus known as COVID-19.
  • Maybe you know someone who was elderly and had to live in isolation - robbing them of a social life and causing them to decline, mentally or physically.
  • Maybe you know a student who couldn’t have a traditional graduation ceremony or attend prom.
  • Maybe you know a child who has been struggling with school and is now having a hard time getting caught up.
  • Maybe you know someone who struggles with anxiety and has really struggled during these anxious times.
  • Maybe you know someone who lost a relationship (a friendship or a marriage), income, opportunities, or peace of mind and heart because of what they have - we have - been forced to live through.

I know. . . I know. . . we all want to move on from all of this. But a crucial part of moving on is acknowledging what has been - naming it and claiming it as part of our story. Sometimes, naming a thing can give it more power, but sometimes when we name a thing - especially a hard thing - we claim the power to put it in its place and move forward.

As a church, over these past two and a half years, we have sought to tell the truth about what has been going on all around us, but as we prepare for fall - and a full reopening of church programming - I want to acknowledge what has been so that we can think about moving forward. The COVID-19 years have been a struggle for everyone, but I have also seen the Holy Spirit at work through the resilience of the people of Bedford Presbyterian Church.

In terms of the things we have gained, there are many:

  • Our Elders and Deacons have led and served with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.
  • Our church staff has more than risen to the challenges we have faced.
  • Our live-streaming ministry has become a vital part of who we are.
  • Our leadership and COVID-19 Task Force have done everything possible to mitigate the risks of being together. We have walked the fine line between caution and community with far more agility and grace than many other churches.
  • Our people have missed being together in person and are looking forward to being together again.
  • Our congregation continues to offer the best of what they have through generous giving of time, talent, and treasure. This includes welcoming the Safi family from Afghanistan and doing the essential work of helping them build a new life.
  • And our congregation continues to welcome guests who are moving toward becoming fully integrated into the life of our church.

There may come a day when we finally put COVID-19 away entirely. It is still out there, but hopefully, it is becoming less and less detrimental to our overall health. In the meantime, though, it is my hope that we can both grieve and give thanks for what has been and then look forward in faith to what God has in store for the next part of our story.

I am looking forward to what God has in store for us. . .

Grace and Peace,

John


Prepare for Worship this week: “Life’s All About Choices”