Note: if you are feeling awkward about re-gathering and want to talk about it, please contact one of us! Liz, Katie, and Amy are all available for walks, talks and prayer. We'd love to hear from you.
At Easter, we’ll be returning to in-person worship, hopefully for a while, perhaps permanently, if COVID case numbers continue to decline and the number of vaccinated people continues to rise. And yet for many of us, re-gathering church up a swirl of emotions. Certainly, many of us will feel joy, excitement, and thanksgiving at the thought of being able to worship with our community, especially on Easter. But it might be that others will experience a gathered Easter as a fresh reminder of all that has been lost over the past year. And some of us might feel anxious or uncomfortable at the thought of being back in a crowd of people, engaging in small talk after perhaps not seeing others for almost a year.
Recognizing that we’ll all have a lot in our hearts and minds when we meet again, and just how gentle and patient we’ll need to be with ourselves and each other, I was reminded of this prayer...
"For Those Who Feel Awkward in Social Gatherings" from a book called Every Moment Holy which says,
When next I find myself in a room filled with people, where the din of conversation is disorienting, do what I cannot, O Lord.
Quell my discomfort
enough that I might consider with true compassion
the needs of another human being.
For you have not called me
to insulate my heart from others,
or from the discomfort
I might feel in the presence of acquaintances and strangers.
You have called me instead
to learn to love
by my small actions and choices,
those whose paths I cross,
moment to moment,
in all settings.
Then let me consciously,
and as an act of love and choosing to love,
move toward that person.
let your grace compel my movements.
In such moments, let me think less of myself
and my own awkwardness.
Let me think more of others.
In all moments, let me think less of myself
and my own awkwardness, O Lord,
and let me think more of you. Amen.
This prayer is adapted from The Liturgy for Those Who Feel Awkward in Social Gatherings in Douglas Kaine McKelvey, Every Moment Holy (Nashville, TN: Rabbit Room Press, 2017), 171-174.