When Session met last Tuesday for our first weekly meeting via Zoom, I opened with a reading from Fredrick Buechner and shared some of my thoughts about this moment in which we live. I want to share the reading and some of my thoughts with you here. The whole reading is at the bottom, but here is part of it to give you a sense why it was on my mind.
“The grace of God means something like: ‘Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.’”
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot as the coronavirus has spread: is there any good that can come of all of this?
As schools move online, community gatherings are limited, and many people work from home, something that we all need right now is human connection
Then, as I said to my neighbor recently, about 85% of being the church is simply getting people together. Which means at a time when our community and country most need what the church is best at, our best tool is under quarantine.
In the meantime, we are getting creative, making use of Facebook Live, Zoom calls, and good old fashioned picking up the phone to check in on each other and to pray together.
Finally, as Buechner’s words help to remind us: in life beautiful and terrible things happen, but God is with us through it all. In times like these, it’s easy to feel out of control, helpless, and hopeless. Yet, even in these times we must open our hands to receive gifts of grace.
“After centuries of handling and mishandling, most religious words have become so shopworn nobody’s much interested anymore. Not so with grace, for some reason. Mysteriously, even derivatives like gracious and graceful still have some of the bloom left.
Grace is something you can never get but can only be given.
A good sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace. Loving somebody is grace. Have you ever tried to love somebody?
A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do.
The grace of God means something like: ‘Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.’
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words, Fredrick Buechner