From the Gospel of Matthew chp 18
Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
As we celebrate 1st Sunday once again – summer ending – and autumn coming – what it means to be gathered together has become a new, and speaking for myself, barren landscape. For centuries Christians have regularly gathered to worship, pray and work together. At times, and still in some places, gathering had to be done in secret as the faith and believers were persecuted. And yet – the faithful bound together in the Holy Spirit passed the faith along. Now we find ourselves distanced and separated by a pandemic, and what it means to be gathered has drastically changed. For many people the atomization of relationship via social media and digital bonding is normal and nothing new. For all of the challenges and opportunities the digital world has provided us as the faithful, I am convinced that nothing can ever replace the joys and challenges of true human interaction in our churches. So, we look forward to that time to come when we can gather once again, 2 or 3 or 533! in his name, in the church we call home. The life of faith must be taken one step at a time – maybe sometimes on tip-toe. But know this it is always taken in the presence of the Lord – the I AM. Holy Spirit be our guide in this “gathered” separation in which we for now exist, that we may know the bond of faith and rise again step by step to be gathered in one place in your church.
Let us pray: Holy Jesus, we place ourselves into your hands at this difficult time. Help us to know that we are not alone. Please send us comfort for our sorrows, bravery for our fears, and healing for our sufferings and for the whole world. Strengthen our faith and give us the courage to accept Your Will for our lives. Amen.
Loving God, bless all who work to earn their daily bread. Grant them diligence and renew their spirits when they are weary. May they know the dignity of their labors and be appreciated by the communities they serve. We pray, too, for those who’ve lost their jobs because of the pandemic. May we stand with them in their time of need, and may our world soon be blessed with recovery and wholeness. We ask this in the name of our Lord and brother, Jesus the Christ. Amen.