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Letter from Liz: May 1, 2020

Kim's Christmas cactus bloomed this week

It’s May Day! According to the dictionary: “May 1, celebrated in many countries as a traditional springtime festival or as an international day honoring workers.”

Or MAYDAY! “an international radio distress signal used by ships and aircraft.”

In Virginia, May is such a lovely month, the dogwood is nearly over but the azaleas are glorious, the leaves on the trees are filling out, the steady rain getting the earth ready for the onslaught of summer heat. So we rejoice in this new season. But this year there is also a part of me which is also yelling - ‘mayday’! In particular, as we pray for workers in meatplants, as we pray for laborers who cannot 'shelter', as we pray for those who are sick and dying....

This May will see us mostly still tucked up indoors, continuing to operate in our new normal; but like curious toddlers rattling the stairgate we are all no doubt wondering about the world out there and what happens next.

One of the ways I am finding hope, in this season, is through praying in our (almost) daily prayer times online. I love the ways we have dived into the collects at the back of the BCP2019. Have you spent any time with these prayers? Haul out your copy (or look online at the "occasional prayers and collects" section) and find comfort in the beautiful words written for so many different circumstances.

Collect 83. IN THE MORNING (p670)
Almighty God, you alone gave us the breath of life, and you alone can keep alive in us the holy desires you impart. We beseech you, for your compassion’s sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavors, that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of our mind enlightened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted as your faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Some things we can know: our world of work will be changed when we next ‘go to the office’; new protocols, new cultural rituals to learn and observe. Our colleagues will need time, compassion and grace to adjust to new normals. We will also be different, feel different, and think differently. (You could pray collects 40-51, p658-661 or collects 87-96, pages 672-674)

Some things we acknowledge: May will hold some days of sadness - change brings uncertainty, fear of inadequacy, questions about our worth and value… and we can look at those. And we grieve. We mourn those who have died, we pray for those who are sick and we pray for scientists and medics to find good ways forward. (Collects 52-63, p662-665)

Some things we can hope: this global shift is also bringing opportunity. (Collects 27-33, pages 654 - 656)

And undoubtedly, Incarnation will look different in the months ahead. The staff and vestry are thinking through all the questions we can think of as we adjust to these new days. What is our specific calling as a church in South Arlington? How will we gather, and where - and even when! These and so many more questions we need to answer - or at least we should pay attention in the asking until we find clarity. (Collects 116-121, pages 680-682)

We have our next Parish meeting on June 7 after the service - and by then we will (I hope!) have a robust plan for moving forward. Will you pray for God’s direction for our community? Do you have fears or questions or ideas and hopes you would like us to consider? Would you like to join a small discussion group to contribute ideas and think through questions? (Collects 76-80, pages 669 - 670)

As always, I am available by email, WhatsApp, text,… and I am always happy to pause and listen, pray, discuss… I’d love to hear how you are doing and what your thoughts are about this next stage.

And things to look forward to? This Sunday, David Hanke (the Rector of our sending church) is preaching - so grateful for all the ways Restoration Anglican Church has loved and cared and prayed for us. I am looking forward to hearing the word he has for us.

And then next week we have a global guest preacher for Global Week! MANY opportunities to gather and pray for our world in this week ahead. Looking forward to seeing you on screen soon - perhaps as we pray together for the world this May.

Your pastor,

~ Liz


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