May 31, 2020

By Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar

“Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things…” Collect for Pentecost

May the Spirit of God, who flooded Jesus’ heart with love for all people on earth, be just as invasive in ours!

So much going on. So much news, both locally and nationally. I do not need to recite all of the headlines here, but there is not one of the matters occupying our collective minds for which an “explosion” of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t improve things dramatically. St. Paul enumerates the fruits of the Spirit thus: “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Get it? Whose life wouldn’t benefit from the infusion of any one of these into our hearts?

The cool thing is these fruits of the spirit are already within us, already packaged up neatly in our souls, given to us at birth and ready to take a leading role. What remains is for us is to halt ‘business as usual’ and to invite these gifts to run free in our lives. When, after summoning the Holy Spirit, we weigh our choices and actions, we are assured of better outcomes and of greater loving relationships with those who also have the Spirit of God in them (i.e., EVERYBODY!). Doing so, we are confident that the work of God, the work of Jesus – to reconcile the world with God – will be progressing forwards.

“Spirit-response,” for example, to the death of George Floyd in St. Paul this week, requires of us a calling up of the fruits of love, kindness, and self-control. What can trip us up — if we are not careful — is to inadvertently make this about “us” (people who typically enjoy social privilege), saying things like, “I’m not racist,” or, “We don’t know what happened before the officer got there.” Doing so, displaces the fundamental truth that many sisters and brothers are being (and for too long have been) subject to such ugliness that their lives have become defined by fear, foreboding, and anger. This is no way to live as children of God. The Spirit is calling us to make a choice about what we do when we encounter these events. We have a lot of work to do here, and the invitation to approach this matter with love and kindness has been beckoning to us for quite some time. More on this soon.

Closer to home our Bishop, the Governor and the County Health Department are giving a green-light to churches who wish to move toward in-person gathering again. This move will require from us a great deal of love, patience, and self-control. Some important points about this need to be made:
• June 20th is the earliest we may do so
• It is not required that we do anything on June 20th if we find ourselves unready
• WE will determine specifics on how we will return to in-person worship (a small task force will be convened)
• Masks, social distancing, limited numbers and temperature readings will be required
• There is to be no congregational singing at this stage
• Disinfecting the worship space is required after each service
• In the early stages, Eucharist is not likely to be a choice for us
• Live streaming of our services will continue

Many of these requirements will likely be with us until a vaccine against COVID-19 is available to all.

The Bishop’s Committee will be sending to you a brief survey asking for your response to this news of opening up the worship space – whether you will choose to stay home at this time or choose to participate in person. Once again, it is the spiritual gift of love that must guide our choices. There is NO PRESSURE on you to do what could harm you or harm those near you.

I am perpetually humbled and thrilled to see the workings of the Holy Spirit in our midst: feeding, clothing, housing, visiting, shopping — all from calling up the fruits of the spirit within our souls and letting Her run rampant!

Pray with me for our beloved St. John’s School; for the students, for Patrick and for the teachers and staff as they prepare to graduate and to promote students in the next weeks. They all have endured such hardships that, I know, will result only in students more dedicated and undeterred from the excellence to which they are called.

We continue to worship online on Zoom for Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. we pray Evening Prayer or Compline. If you are not receiving my Saturday e-blasts containing meeting links and passwords to these services, let me know and I’ll add you to the list:

BIBLE FELLOWSHIP returns this Wednesday evening, June 3, at 6 p.m., picking up where we left off with the Gospel of Luke. Again, email me if you have not received this meeting link and password:

May the Spirit of God, who already joins us together as one, lead us to peace, to joy, to generosity, and to faithfulness. Amen.
Rev. Christopher