Well, that was a full weekend: hospital visits and a wedding rehearsal on Friday, a wedding and early anniversary dinner with friends on Saturday, people gathering in-person at both Upper Sackville and Sackville United Churches, four dogs and more than a dozen people gathering for the Blessing of the Animals gathering and then the news of the tragic death of the groom’s father and a visit to the funeral home begin making arrangements for a funeral service on Sunday. No wonder I promptly fell asleep as soon as I sat down on Sunday afternoon.
After such a long period of time during which gatherings were limited and face-to-face interactions with individuals were minimal, I am realizing how much energy it is now taking to be present – and the amount of energy it is taking to hear the words behind the masks, and to discern facial expressions, being only able to see the eyes of the person I am with. It is draining – but so very necessary and worthwhile!
On Sunday as folk arrived in both buildings, I found myself having to consciously exercise restraint. I so wanted to offer a hand and share a hug… and it was so good to have so many seats filled in both spaces.
Fredrick Buechner writes that preaching, “is to speak words that you hope may, by grace, be bearers not simply of new understanding but of new life both for the ones you are speaking to and also for you,” and I must say, the words seem to germinate and sprout so much more readily when offered in-person and I am able to see engagement and reactions on the faces and bodies of those present. Thank you for the new life that your presence granted me on Sunday! I’m already excited for next Sunday and thinking how the experience can be improved – particularly how we can assist those who are joining us by Facebook Live in feeling more connected to those are present in-person. We are after all, one community no matter where we are physically.
Today I am in the office for the morning followed by three meetings this afternoon with various folk. Tomorrow I’ll be in the office again (or maybe at home) for the Preacher’s Help Group, followed by Hospital visits and preparing for the funeral of Richie Ward, father of Jimmy Ward whose wedding I officiated at on Saturday. Please join me in holding the family in prayer.
Wednesday morning will involve a few phone calls followed by leading the http://www.psalms.com on Facebook Live. The Psalm for this Wednesday is 106 verses 1-6. Have a look and see if you can predict where I’ll go…. Wednesday afternoon will find me at the Westcock Cemetery with the Ward family and on Thursday I’ll be holed up someplace trying to pull together all the threads for our Thanksgiving Weekend Sunday Gatherings!
Friday and Saturday will be days off (unless there is a sermon still to be written – which is more than likely) and on Sunday I’ll get to gather with some of you beautiful people in person and even more of you over Facebook Live! So much to be thankful for! Monday is a holiday and will involve the roasting of a turkey and gathering with family around a table filled with blessings!