I would like to address the fact that many churches across the nation and here in Wisconsin have resumed their regular Sunday morning services. I understand the sentiment. I too would love to see my beloved congregations worshipping in our sanctuaries. I miss our in-person community. But here’s the thing. In both of our congregations, the leadership has been monitoring the suggested protocols for re-opening from The World Health Organization and the CDC, The Wisconsin Council of Churches, The Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, specifically, Franz Rigert our conference minister. And even from Church Mutual, our insurance company. And the message from all of these organizations is crystal clear, they ALL suggest that we’re not there yet. My friends, we can BE the Church and we can BE in community with each other, even while we’re still apart.
So, as we continue to be separated in body but unified in spirit, let us come before God in this time of prayer and silent reflection.
God of Grace, Christ of Compassion, All-Encompassing Spirit… Justice and Love, and doing the right thing, all seem so complicated. We engage in honest and sincere discussions, ask important questions, and make plans, but it seems like nothing ever changes and the world stays broken.
But, you’ve given us a picture, Sacred One, a clear, well-defined view of your dream for humanity and creation. In the Bible, we read about the life and love and compassion of Jesus, and we can see that you’ve outlined the steps, that you’ve indicated the colors, and demonstrated the method, to fill our world with compassion and peace and justice. It’s almost like painting by numbers, if only, if only we would follow the instructions.
Perhaps love and justice are not what’s complicated. Perhaps, it’s our tendency to look inward rather than looking out our across this nation and this world with the eyes of acceptance, with the hearts of compassion, and with hands and feet ready to serve you by loving all our neighbors, the neighbor across the street and the one across the globe.
So, now we pray for ourselves, dear God, that we may learn to follow you – even when it’s hard, or unpopular, or difficult to understand. And we pray for our world, for justice and peace to emerge from this pandemic and that hope will remain steadfast, that your vision of celebration and of sharing, of respect and caring, may be embraced and lived, in every corner of the earth. We pray today to find the will and courage to “paint by numbers” Amen & God’s faithful said, Amen.