Gracious Spirit

“Gracious Spirit, heed our pleading, fashion us all anew. It’s your leading that we’re needing, help us to follow you. Come, come, come, Holy Spirit, come. Come, come, come, Holy Spirit, come.”
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #401 Text and music: Wilson Niwagila

Dear Church,

Dear body of Christ, people of God, may the Spirit of Christ be with you in this time.
As we proceed toward summer we cautiously move forward with a plan that many of you will see one another in worship.  I say that knowing that any gatherings will be limited and carefully crafted.  St. Paul’s Church Council has a task force working on the logistics and guidelines for outside worship.  Flexibility and a willingness to readjust will be central.  Reopening is much more complicated than unlocking the doors and resuming life as usual.
St. Paul’s will continue with online worship and worship mailings into the future.  Zoom events will continue.
Even with Delaware easing restrictions for churches the virus is still with us and has only abated its spread due to people’s behaviors.  The behaviors and actions needed for public worship are daunting and even bring sadness.  I am sad that singing together will not be possible.  Singing is a high-risk behavior even with masks.  Speaking together in prayer or statement of faith is high-risk.  I am sad.  I miss singing with all of you.  I miss our collective voices.  I also know that your health and well-being are more important than missing singing.
Worship will begin outside, weather permitting.  Small groups at different times, short services, physical distancing, masks.  A beginning.  A careful beginning and hopefully one that works.
The guidelines we are working with suggest asking people of a certain age (that would be me) to stay home.  The guidelines recommend asking people with health issues to remain at home.    My hope is we can protect people’s health and surround them in community – even at a distance, even at home.  The task force will be working with all these issues.
Until there is an effective vaccine we are living in a wilderness.  I was recently reminded that the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness the Hebrews experienced was not a punishment. It was a time to build a community, particularly a community of faith.  This is the wilderness of our time.  We are in the middle of learning what it means to be a community, a community of faith, without our normal schedules and worship experiences.  Together we face a virus that puts all we know at risk.  Together we face a virus that puts people at risk.  As Jesus people, loving others as we love ourselves, matters more than worship at eight and ten.
Here is something you might consider:  using the directory of members, each day pray for one person or family, praying your way through the list.  During this time of Pentecost pray, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
We pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, come.”  Come and comfort those who have lost loved ones.  Come and bear up those who have no work.  Come and strengthen our hope in the midst of our fear and anxiety.  Come, and keep us faithful in our work.  Come, Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, and surround us in love for God and one another.

Pastor Linda Gunderson †
Senior Pastor

Click here to see our website's terms of service.