As I hope you have heard by now, Mayor Strickland issued a “Safer at Home” order yesterday. This means that Calvary’s offices and facilities will be closed completely as of 6 p.m. tonight. The only present exception is our Community Breakfast, which is allowed in the order. This ministry was carried out carefully and conscientiously by our volunteers and staff this past Sunday. Guests were served “take out” style in the alley, with careful regulation of guests so that no more than 10 people (guests + volunteers) were in the same area at the same time.
Calvary’s staff has already been doing as much of their work from home as possible, putting into practice all the measures we’ve been encouraged to adopt for several weeks now. And much of our work has been reimagining how we can continue to minister to and support one another when physical distance is required.
This has been a challenge like no other in my almost 15 years as a priest. But astonishing gifts have resulted as well. I never imagined that a service of Morning Prayer on a Sunday morning with nine people in our beloved chancel could result in one of the most powerful experiences of Christian community I’ve ever had. Not with just the nine, but with the several hundred who logged in and sent emails and Facebook messages and texts of encouragement and thankfulness and great joy.
We don’t yet know whether a Morning Prayer service will be allowed to be streamed this Sunday from our chancel. I’ll give you more details on worship at Calvary later in the week when I have them. What I do know is that even if I have to lead prayers from my living room and preach my first sermon into a computer camera, the Spirit that binds us together will be active and present among us. Of this I have absolutely no doubts at all.
Please know that you, as part of the Calvary community, are in my prayers and on my heart every day as we move through these uncertain times. Know also that the deepest truths about our lives are not uncertain. You are made and held by a loving God. And we are members of one another as the body of Christ, a fellowship that transcends not only distance, but time as well. Hold on to these truths as you find new ways to hold on to one another, until the joyful day — which will come, my friends — when we can gather bodily at God’s abundant table once again.