I have increasingly come to appreciate and realize the importance of tradition and custom…oh no, that sounds like something Downton Abbey’s Old Lady Grantham would say.
The pomp and circumstance of spring graduations was passed by, and unimaginably, the same for an inauguration of the POTUS. For many reasons we have needed to practice distancing, isolation, and protection. However, through it, people have been inventive and resilient in creating new ways to mark the occasions.
We are marvelous at being able to overcome trials and challenges. We are also vulnerable and delicate so that when the rhythms and patterns of a day, a week, a year are altered, we experience a brokenness. The dependability of a schedule gives a sense of stability and calm like traditions and customs are a guiding hand when the way is foggy and unclear.
This past year has brought an interruption and halt to our usual patterns. The very basic break of the rhythm of gathering for Sunday worship in our sanctuaries has brought a loss of centeredness. The visuals of the altar candles being lit, the sound of everyone rising to their feet for the call to worship, our individual voices joining with all others as we unite in song and as we experience a oneness in offering the Lord’s Prayer, a force of unity and conviction as we affirm the proclamation of the Word and respond to it with tithes and offerings.
Though we have not replaced the need and enjoyment of communal corporate worship, we have re-discovered the meaningful experience of at-home-worship. Home has become even more, a central place in our lives. Creating home as a place of safety, grace, and wellness is essential.
In the midst of it all, Bonnie and I have had a sudden and significant change in our lives. We discerned the need for Bonnie to move to Littleton, Colorado to create a home and care for her mother for many months to come. It is not possible for mom to relocate to Las Vegas. I am continuing to serve as the North District Superintendent. Because of being able to connect via web-video, email, text, and mobile phone — on the occasion I am in Colorado, I will still connect with the pastors and lay leadership of our churches as well as our DSC ministries. We continue to have our home in Las Vegas and I will often be there, and then post-Covid, I will be in-person among our churches and DSC gatherings.
In these times, Bonnie and I have found the words of Julian of Norwich to be very meaningful
ALL SHALL BE WELL,
AND ALL SHALL BE WELL,
AND ALL MANNER OF THING SHALL BE WELL…
FOR THERE IS A FORCE OF LOVE
MOVING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE
THAT HOLDS US FAST AND WILL
NEVER LET US GO.
To Julian, these were not her words, but Jesus Christ’s words to her in a time of customary ritual of meditation and prayer. Julian was in the midst of a period of isolation, sickness, and vulnerability and Jesus’ words gave her great hope and security.
In these months of change, we must continue to create new ways to practice our customs, rituals, and habits which keep us steady and centered. It is in times of deep and familiar prayer and meditation in which a word from the Lord enters the spirit and there is clarity about our today and our way forward into tomorrow. There is peace and calm knowing that all shall be well as we are connected to the force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.
For Bonnie and me, this is true in our marriage and life together. It is also true in our connection with you as friends in the faith and our ministry through the Desert Southwest Conference. Together, we focus upon and courageously live within this force of love we know in Jesus Christ which will never let us go.
Your Brother in Christ,