Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24, 2020 — the Sunday after the Ascension

Caught Between Heaven and Earth

We celebrated the Ascension last week. The celebration “makes real” the transition from a ‘God with us’ to a ‘God within us,’ empowering us to do the things that Jesus did — and far greater than he did.

In short, The Ascension celebrates the power Christ gives us as his body was taken from our sight; the power to BE the church in a world threatened by hatred and division.

This week, many of us may have felt like we were dangling between heaven and earth as conflicting timelines were proposed for when churches could gather again for in-person worship. “Churches are essential,” was one cry, while the other amounted to “The risk of contracting the Coronavirus has not gone away.” The first cry, though very true, might mislead us into believing that the essential nature of the church is to gather and to pray. In fact, our essential nature is what is reflected in the Ascension of Christ. The ministry of God given to Jesus, is handed to us and has become our primary (essential) nature: the work of doing and being the reconciliation of the world with the Creator.

The leadership of St. John’s is committed to following the leadership of our Diocesan Bishop regarding coming back together for worship. We are awaiting word from him and his advisory team about when we may gather again, and the guidelines for implementation. The Bishop’s Committee of St. John’s is tackling the details of a return plan that keeps LOVE as the central organizing principle and the safety of the most vulnerable always before us. It is not likely that we will gather for in-person worship by Pentecost (next weekend), but the time is coming closer and closer. A recent Facebook posting by some colleagues has the terse saying, “Our highest calling is to BE the church, not to GO to church.” Another said, “The church is not closed, it is deployed!”

Something that is already part of our plan is that we shall continue to celebrate Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer online even after we may come together again. Many of us still will be too vulnerable to participate in sanctuary-based worship while others appreciate the ease of praying online. How long and how frequently online prayers will go on is not determined.

You’ll find the bulletin for Sunday’s service here, as well as the prayer list for the week. Links to our Zoom services are in the email I sent to the church membership Saturday at 11:30 a.m. If you did not receive the e-blast, please email me and I’ll send the links to you and add you to the weekly e-blast. Our Zoom worship services are on the following schedule:

• We gather for Sunday Morning Prayer at 9 a.m.
• Morning Prayer (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) is also at 9 a.m.
• Evening Prayer (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) is at 8 p.m.

If you chose to go out into the public arena this weekend, may I recommend that you wear a mask? Let me then suggest that you patronize those business that have local ownership.

~ Blessings on this Memorial Day weekend.
~ Thanksgivings to those who gave their lives in service to their countries.
~ Prayers that we soon learn ways to solve our international differences that do not require the lives of our children.

Rev. Christopher Potter