Cheryl and I had been getting ready for weeks. We had been talking about this for months. Preparations had been made. Provisions had been acquired. Plans had been planned. I had been watching the long range forecast for days fearing rain might ruin all of our carefully laid plans. Our bags were packed and waiting by the door. We were so very ready, and I was incredibly excited.
Saturday was the big day!
Finally – after waiting and waiting and waiting Trunk and Treat was here!!!
Whooo! Hoooo! Yipppee!!!! Finally!!!!
So many events have been canceled or postponed this year. So much has changed in 2020.
I wouldn’t change this. (Well – of course – I would change Covid-19. I so wish Covid-19 had never – ever – ever happened.) I know we all need to be incredibly cautious and wise and as safe as possible. I am and will continue to be firm in my belief that following the advice of the CDC is the best course of action.
But I miss the “olden days.” I miss the casual ease of socializing and chatting and gathering with my sisters and brothers in Christ. I miss lingering for as long as we want while we talk and visit and share in each others’ lives. I miss smiles and seeing people’s entire faces. I miss being Saint Stephen Lutheran Church. I really – really miss that!!!
Relationships are at the heart of who we are as a Christian community. Relationships – caring – conversations – and connection. These were all things that drew Jason and me to Saint Stephen over 10 years ago now! Yes – that is right – you have been listening to me yammer on now for 10 years. I came for my interview(s) in the fall of 2010.
As soon as I met the Saint Stephen call committee – I was drawn in – because of their relationships with one another. Their genuine – caring relationships with each other delighted and intrigued me. They honestly cared for and about one another. They loved one another.
My first phone interview with the call committee was only supposed to last about an hour – but it just went on and on and on (in a really – really good way)! Once the interview was over – and I emerged from our home office – Jason asked me how the interview had gone. I clearly remember telling him – “I have found my people. I think I am in love!”
Yep – that’s right. It was love at first phone call!
Of course – worship and serving God and God’s people are at the heart of who we are as God’s people at Saint Stephen. But a huge part of our identity is our relationships with one another. It has been this way for as long as I have known you, and I am sure it has been that way for far – far longer than that.
2020 has been hard on us. And frankly – it is going to continue to be hard for a while. Our lives have changed quite dramatically.
It would be easy to let our relationships with one another begin to drift away. “Out of sight – out of mind!” To neglect these relationships – because we can’t see each other right would be pretty easy to do.
I want to encourage you to keep nurturing your relationships with one another. If you haven’t heard from someone in our Saint Stephen church family in a while – reach out. Send them a card. If someone comes to mind – give them a call to let them know you are thinking of them.
Send a text message or an email or a postcard to that sister in Christ you usually see every week – but now can’t see because of Covid-19. Let folks know you are thinking of them and praying for them.
That time you would have spent getting ready for in-person worship could be spent writing a note or two on Sunday morning! That time we would have spent singing hymns during in-person worship – you could use to call and check up with someone you haven’t seen in months. . .
Check in with each other. Nurture and care for one another. Don’t assume someone else is doing it. Don’t put it off until tomorrow or next week.
Relationships are important. Relationships are a huge part of who we are as Saint Stephen Lutheran Church. I encourage you to keep nurturing and tending your relationships with one another. They are truly one of God’s greatest blessings to us all.
I love being your pastor. I love being a part of your lives. I loved Trunk and Treat 2020 and I am already looking forward to Trunk and Treat 2021!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –