May 15, 2020

More than One Way to be Together

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. -Acts 2:46-47

     I suppose you could call this a devotional about devotionals. We started posting these pieces written by staff and members of RPC on March 18, thinking that we would have to buoy folks’ spirits for a couple of weeks. Here we are, a two months later, and the end remains hazy. One deadline is sure, however. My time of service will conclude on May 17. I have appreciated all the kind words and deeds shared with me over the last month since I announced of my ending date. In response to you all, I say, You’re welcome!!

    Back to these devotionals. I believe this one counts as #12 from me. I really enjoy writing these short works. Most importantly, however, I want you to know how often I have been moved to tears of joy and gratitude by the devotionals YOU, the members of Riverside Church, have written and shared with us all. You are navigating these same choppy waters of adversity with open hearts and minds, providing your captain’s-chair perspective on things with skill and wisdom. I want to be sure you hear the loud THANK YOU that I and many others shout out for the grace and beauty and poignancy you’ve added to our days!

    Which is why I thought of the passage early in the Acts of the Apostles, which could also be entitled, the Acts of the Church. Jesus’ first followers were living through torturous, tumultuous days in their lives. You know their stories of persecution and deprivation. They had to figure out news ways of being community in order to survive. And they did! Not social distancing; rather, quite the opposite: Gathering together and finding strength in numbers. I trust you can see the connection to our present situation. While not gathering together, we ARE finding a multitude of new ways to be community in tumultuous times. Your simple yet profound devotional words that appear in our inboxes each morning draw us together and remind us that we are not alone in our separation. I contend that we have learned so much of what it means to be community in this time BECAUSE we are not able physically to be together. You devotional writers have provided some of the spiritual glue that has done the necessary job.

    On my way out of town, I want to encourage you to keep sharing your life stories. When we rely on professional “religious” folk to carry the bulk of that load, we miss out on so much of our shared wisdom. So keep writing! I have been deeply and profoundly moved by your efforts.

Prayer: God of unity, help us to continue sharing our stories, and by doing so, uniting us into the fellowship of love and compassion that is the Church of Jesus Christ. Amen!

Blessings, Pastor Zomermaand

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