Rodney’s Reflection: The Toll

Six Months into the global pandemic, in an election year, I think everyone can say there is at least some aspect of 2020 taking a toll on us. Am I wrong? “Covid and masks, race and justice, money and markets, educating our children from home, wildfires and hurricanes, politics, the reliability of the U.S. postal service, and more: 2020 has amped up the volume on all the things we humans worry about–and added new ones too.”[1]
Recent poll shows:  

  • 42% of adults say anxiety has a negative impact on their most important relationships and 39% say the same thing regarding depression.
  • One-third of adults (32%) say that loneliness affects their most important relationships.

 How are you? 
The title of our new sermon series  “The Ride” I think best describes my state of being right now. I feel like I am on a ride. I have stretches of good days and I have bad days; ups, down, twist and turns. I know I have said this before, but the lack of hugs, hand sakes, and smiling faces has taken a toll on me. Therefor, it is imperative for me to find community in new and creative ways. 
I have found this in our ARC gatherings. These small groups of 8 to 15 people gathered distanced, masked, in front or back yards for in-person holy community and conversations has lifted my spirits.
I also have found our new Fresh Air worship service to be a highlight to my week and helps me feel more connected.  
I have enjoyed both virtually in-person outdoor visits with friends and family. Allison had a group of friends surprise her with a zoom call this week. And I have had random phone, FaceTime, and in person visits where others have intentionally taken time to check on me and visit. All three of these examples are ways that have helped me survive the ride.
Matthew tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them” (Matthew 18:20 CEB). 
The Toll of 2020 is real for people in different ways. Beautiful is how whether online or in-person when two or three people are intentional in their presence, being honest, and authentic, God shows up and begins healing, strengthening, and encouraging us on this journey.
Who are you riding with?  Who are you checking on and who is checking on you?
You and I both know there is power in bring present with others, in being physically gathered, 2, 3, 10, 25, or 50, connects us with each other and with God. I encourage you wherever you are on the journey and toll you might be feeling, to reach out. You don’t have to risk face to face to be connected, intentional community can happen via phone, facetime, and zoom. I am a phone call, text, email away. I would be honored to visit with you, refer you to a counselor, or connect you with a small group.  
Whatever you are feeling, you are not alone! This ride isn’t easy. I promise, the science backs it up, it is 10x better when you ride with a friend. 
Two quick reminders:

  1.  We want to celebrate World Communion Sunday, October 4, outdoors @ 10:15 a.m. For those of you who feel comfortable, please join us for our physically distanced, mask-wearing, Fresh Air Service. 
  2. We will continue to stream our service at 9 am at or on our Facebook page. We will celebrate communion on October 4, so get your elements ready!

 Our church leadership is prayerfully and thoughtfully exploring how our congregation can begin to gather again, in our different venues for in-person worship and small groups. Be watching for more information during the month of October.  Please pray for us and with us, as we are making these decisions while also paying close attention to the advice of officials, health experts, and our Bishop, Mike McKee. 


Pastor Rodney