I don't know about you, but I feel 'attenuated." There is probably a better word, but I like "attenuated."
Even though our community seems to have moved closer to our old normal, there are still so many things I miss and I feel reduced by their absence.
I miss my Edgemont experience. I have been lucky to maintain most of my normal routine throughout all of this time of sheltering in place and social distancing. But I miss sitting in our sanctuary with fellow believers, singing the songs of the faithful, praying to God for his continued blessings and wisdom, hearing God's word preached and sharing the struggle of living out my Christian faith with a group of people I know and care about and who know me and care about me. I've been blessed to be part of the preparation and recording of some of the online services and that helps keep me connected, but it's not the same. And as much as I have come to enjoy sitting on my deck watching the service on Sunday via Facebook or YouTube, it's not the same as in-person worship.
I'm not sure I can begin to explain how much I miss meeting on Friday morning for food, fellowship and prayer with the Friday Morning Prayer Group. That ministry gives me so much and provides so much inspiration for my Christian experience.
Don't even mention singing with Joel and Betsy Rainer and Eleanor McClellan. We have been making music together at Edgemont for so long we breathe in tune while we are singing God's praise. We have our little texting group, but it's not the same.
And it's been so long since I have seen most of you or heard from many of you, I feel my connection to all of you shrinking and shrinking. AND I DON'T LIKE IT!
When Pastor Henry announced that we would have a drive-in communion service, I was pretty skeptical. How was I supposed to worship and experience the presence of Christ as I partake of the wine and the bread from the privacy of my truck? I didn't think it would work. But when I pulled into the Edgemont parking lot that Sunday and saw those other cars and could wave at the people in them to acknowledge that our commitment to each other continues, my spirit was lifted. And when Pastor Henry blessed the elements using his little bullhorn to address the congregatoin, I could barely hear him, but I knew what he was saying--it was part of the communion ritual that has encouraged me for many years and reminded me of God's grace in my life. It wasn't the same as being in our sanctuary and kneeling at our altar, but it was good and I felt my connection to God and my connection to the Edgemont family renewed and strengthened.
So my Christian experience is attenuated. Reduced, stretched out, thinned. Please pray with me that soon we can return to our sanctuary and worship together. Yes, we want to be safe, and we certainly don't want to expose people to a virus that can be fatal for some and unpleasant for many. But we need each other. I need you. I need to see your faces, hear your voices ,see your smiles (and sometimes frowns). We need to share our stories and the occasional tear. We need to share a proper hug with the person who needs encouragement. We need to congregate and do what congregations do!
Our Leadership Team is exploring ways we can come back together. We may start out with something that might not look exactly like a Sunday morning worship experience. Whatever our next step is, I hope you will support it as much as you can. Be present when you feel it is safe for you. In the meantime, pray--pray for as many people in the Edgemont family as you can name and then pray for all the others too; pray for Pastor Henry as he guides us; and pray for the time when we can sing with the saints, "When we all get to [Edgemont[, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see [each other], we'll sing and shout the victory."