High River United Church of High River, Alberta

A Message to Connect - April 20, 2020

Grace & Peace to you,  

Susan’s thoughts for today:

I woke up this morning thinking – I’d just like a break from this pandemic thing, a one or two day holiday with no news of more people testing positive, no need to physically distance or wear a mask in stores, no stores closed, no one worrying about their financial situation.  Just even one day where everything is back to what we considered normal, where caution and alarm are not hovering near by.


Of course, that isn’t possible – while I can choose to not engage with the news and social media for a time period, there is no break from the cautions we must take and from the sorrow in our hearts as we hear of all those affected in so many ways.  (And then the added deep sorrow at the shooting in Nova Scotia yesterday – sigh!!!)


This feeling of wanting a break from it all comes at other times in our lives, not just during a pandemic.   When a loved one has died and we are in grief, when we are dealing with the serious illness of ourselves or a loved one, when we are going through a significant life change such as a divorce or the loss of a job --- these also are times when we long for that break, just to be out from under the weight of the grief, the frustration, the caution and the alarm for even one day.


If I could have a two day holiday from this, then I could go back at it.  I could face more weeks of the isolation and extra cautionary measures.  If I could have one day visiting with family and friends,  seeing everyone coming again to the church, and go out shopping to any store in town without a worry, then I could handle this again.


But that isn’t how this works.  There is no break in the middle of this.  There is no holiday.  Life shaped by COVID-19 will continue as long as required – and we don’t know how long that will be.  I imagine, that you, like David and I, have good days and bad days.  Some days I feel grumpy and overwhelmed, and not even my most soothing activities (tea, sewing, reading, a walk outside, praying) are soothing – though I do them anyway.  Other days I wake up with a sense that I’ve adapted to this new way of living – I can handle this, I can live this way.  I don’t always know why one day is better than another.  It just is. 


On the bad days, all I can do is let my family know that I’m having a bad day and it isn’t their fault, and then I get through the day, knowing that tomorrow will quite likely feel better.  Because I do know that – tomorrow, or at least the tomorrow after that, will be a better day.  And there will be a time after COVID-19, where we gather and celebrate and move about freely.


Today’s scripture reading is from Micah 4:1-4  (oops, I put 1-14 on your sheet, but that’s okay – you just got a bit more.)  The vision of verse 4 is beautiful: “They shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.”


What a beautiful picture!  The prophet Micah is writing about 700 BC.  He lives in the country, and is observing life in the cities.  He sees poverty and injustice.  He sees hunger and homelessness.  He can’t believe this is happening.  And he offers a vision of what he would like to see.  It is a vision rooted in his farmer’s point of view.  He dreams of a day when everyone has shelter and access to their own food (all sitting under their own vines and fig trees), and no one fears for anything. 


This vision has been cherished by faithful people in many situations, many times and places.  It speaks to my spirit as well.  So, I can’t have my one or two day vacation from the cautions and alarms of this pandemic, but I can rest in Micah’s vision of vines and fig trees.


I can also create my own vision of post-pandemic life.  I can imagine inviting family and friends over for meals (I’m sewing up some new placemats to use for this purpose.)  I can imagine changes to how our society functions in caring for the most vulnerable, such as seniors in care, and begin sending e-mails to politicians inviting such considerations.   While I don’t know when it can happen, I can create the vision and rest in it.


IMG 4917 

The key to Micah’s vision, and the key to my vision, is the trust that God is right in the midst of all that is happening.  It is the God of love and compassion that directs the vision.  It is the God of hope and understanding that curates the content.  It is the God of strength and connection that grounds the vision and keeps me rooted in it.  


So my rest today is in vines and fig trees, and sunshine and warmth outside, and thoughts of the future with people gathered around my table eating meals served on new placemats, and safe care homes for seniors and those who work there.  In these visions, none are afraid.  I will walk in these visions, and work for them, in the name of God, the Gracious and Compassionate One.


With all of our love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David



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