I am not a rock
I can only watch so much TV and do so much reading. I think my eyes need to rest so I often turn to listening to music. In regard to that I am very eclectic in my tastes, though I have discovered I am an old soul in a lot of my preferences. One of the artists that I have particularly enjoyed over the years is the duo Simon and Garfunkel. As I was listening to them this week, one of the more popular songs from back in the day began playing through my headphones. Part of the song says this:
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship;
friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Simon and Garfunkel wrote these words knowing they were not true. They were trying to portray the tough guy who needed no one. These were the fictitious words of an individual whose hurt had been so great that they were going to give up on humanity…and I guess stick to houseplants.
I must admit I’ve been there once or twice. Often folks try to create walls that separate them from others, but in the end we are all drawn back to community.
That is simply how God made us—God built us for relationships!
If the COVID-19 virus has told us anything, it is that we are all connected. That we need one another for our survival. And this need is not simply for physical goods but for emotional and spiritual support.
On Facebook in recent days I have seen folks say how much they would like to be sitting at a restaurant eating with friends or family enjoying Mexican food or Chinese food or pizza. The fact is every one of the restaurants or food types mentioned are open. They are even providing free delivery in most cases. What people are missing is not the taste of the food but the fellowship shared around the table.
In the Book of Psalms we hear these words.
“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!””
Psalms 122:1 NRSV
While the emphasis in discussing this passage is often on the house of the Lord, I find it fascinating that the writer is excited about going with others. The passage doesn’t say I was glad when I went by myself to the house of the Lord. Instead the passage is about going with others. It is about living and worshiping in community.
Of course, we are living in strange times and I long for the day when we can physically be together again. Even though I have some introverted tendencies and need time alone, I more than ever realize my need to be with others. Thankfully we are all in the same boat and thankfully we have ways to be together even when we are apart, including the opportunity to worship together online. We also have the opportunity to reach out and connect, whether on the phone or through email or via text or even sending letters through the mail. And many of us are discovering the wonders of conference calls and video conference calls. I am thankful for these ways we can be connected.
I am also thankful that as believers we are connected through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the grace of God we have a “great cloud of witnesses” that connects us even beyond this temporal place and time.
This promise of the Holy Spirit gives us hope. We can live with hope in the life to come but also with hope that God is with us even in the uncertain times of this life. And we can express that hope through our shared relationships and especially through the relationships we find in the church.
So if at the moment you feel like you are indeed an island, just know that because of the grace of God those islands are connected. Just like the ocean waters connect every land on the earth.
For as we proclaim at every Baptism:
In baptism God claims us,
and seals us to show that we belong to God.
God frees us from sin and death,
uniting us with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.
By water and the Holy Spirit,
we are made members of the church, the body of Christ, and joined to Christ’s ministry of love, peace, and justice.
Friends believe the good news. Through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of God we are never alone.
Thanks be to God.
There are several important announcements I would like to share with you.
In-person worship will be suspended through the month of April. We will reassess at the end of the month whether or not we will be able to safely gather again as a church family in the sanctuary. Until that time virtual worship will continue. The Facebook live broadcast of the service will be at 2 PM. The recording will be available on Facebook and YouTube shortly after that. We will link it from the church’s website as well. I encourage you to invite others to join us in this unique way.
Communion will be celebrated virtually on Maundy Thursday and Easter. We will be sharing more details about this in the days to come. The Maundy Thursday service will be online via Facebook at 6:30 PM and will also be uploaded to the other platforms.
Starting this Sunday, we will have a virtual fellowship hour at 6:30 PM. We will “gather” via Zoom (video conference call). I will be sending out more details but would encourage you to go to zoom.us to learn about the different ways you can participate. Creating a Zoom account is totally free and you can use computers,tablets, and cell phones.
Please remember you can reach out to me anytime. If pastoral concerns should arise, do not hesitate to call me.
I have also started an evening devotion/Vespers on Facebook Live. When I do this, I will email everyone and post it on YouTube. If you have special prayer concerns you would like shared during this time, feel free to email them to me.
As we move through this process, we will continue to look for resources and ways to connect. Feel free to share ideas.
As always you remain in my thoughts and prayers.