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Masks and Prayers October 2020

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

The Spiritual Life Blog

I pray grace and peace to you all. We are Christians with hearts of hope and grace for “times such as these” (Esther 4:13-14) and we call upon the Savior of the world to love the world through us and with us. The oft quoted scripture in the previous sentence has a specific context; Esther was to risk her life and her legacy with no guarantees of a positive outcome. That’s the “for such a time as this” Mordecai challenged Esther to accept as she spoke for her people to the King, her husband. One would imagine it was easy – but in fact it was not. The world was about to change and she became a catalyst.

In this time of COVID-19, national unrest seeking justice for the marginalized in our society, headlines in media full of vitriol with local and national elections nearing, our prayers are full. Add to this confusion and chaos the fires that scorch the western USA and hurricanes that flood the southern and eastern borders and our compassion becomes ignited. It does not seem obvious that we might be able to meet a challenge as Queen Esther did, because we feel somewhat powerless in “times such as this”.

I believe that we will be called upon at some point to help with the needs of those whose homes and lives have been devastated by fire and water; we await the calls that will come to us through our steady and faithful denominational efforts, like UMCOR. I know we will respond, when called. In the meantime, we pray with open hearts for by the grace of God, go we. There is a great need for healing and hope in our country, and because of COVID-19, a need for the same throughout the whole world.

I do submit that as we continue to live with the virus called COVID-19 we are subject to all its protocols as a community of religious purposes, per New York State Department of Health and the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; I am mercifully asking for compliance on these protocols when you are in the building or at a church event.

There have been many complaints of the necessary protocols:

1. I don’t like the masks, 2. I want to sit by my friends 3. the tech is not working 4.I want to sing more and have a bulletin! 5. We have so little virus up in here – why bother with the masks 6. other churches do not even do a thing like this, why should we?

And often frustration and sometimes anger is directed at Pastor, who cannot alleviate your frustrations because, as the messenger of the protocols:

1. I share your frustrations, 2. I want everyone to feel safe in the building whatever the reason you are here, and 3. It is possible we are looking at a full year more of these practices until vaccines are effective and all folks will actually accept the vaccine.

We join hearts (prayerfully) and hands (virtually) in the effort to witness to our faith in a world that needs messages of hope and peace. We do this now in part by honoring the protocols. Let’s consider the protocols very positive things because we are abiding by the state laws, honoring one another, and practicing our faith. Praise be to God!

I am asking, prayerfully, that we adhere to the protocols of using the facility for worship, mission, and administration purposes, so we can continue to use the building to be part of the practice of our faith. I feel blessed that our Leadership team and staff have earnestly and prayerfully worked to make the Church available for the congregation by obedience to the protocols. I know many of us will not come to worship because the risk of virus is too great – and I respect that. That said, if you do come to worship: masks, hand sanitizer, sitting only with family/household members (not friends you had lunch with yesterday), and please, no physical contact. As we keep these protocols in place, we are a part of the presence of peace that does not transmit the virus, faithfully, as we witness to the world our faith, “for such a time as this”.

With grace and peace and thanks, Rev. Robin Blair, DMin

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