May 15: Remembering Sabbath
May 15, 2020From the Rector
Time has come to pass in such strange ways - this is a refrain I hear again and again from folks now, as we are without many of the ways we mark the passage of time. There is at once so much more time, and so much less, and it seems to have gone all wobbly in the middle.
While I have to focus considerably harder to be certain what day of the week it is now, let alone what date, I've also become keenly aware of the passage of time on a minute level this spring: because we're working and schooling and doing most of our living at home, my kids and I have planted a smattering of seeds and little vegetable starts. There is nothing organized about our effort; we're far too new to our home in Pleasant Hill to have actually set up a garden, so instead it's just a collection of pots filled with what's caught our fancy. And this is how we are beginning to mark time: seeing when the sprout of the giant sunflower bends upward enough to shed its shell; noting how in less than a week the tomato plants have more than doubled; wondering about how unbelievably tiny the yarrow seedlings are coming up - if those aren't weeds! - we're still waiting and watching.
This movement of seeds into plants into flowers and food is a well-worn trope, a cliché in the simple hope it peddles - but it's true! And watching these tenacious little things keep climbing in the direction of life and beauty, day by day is reminding me to pay more attention to how I spend my time, how I unfurl, how I both rest and grow.
For years I've had all but sacrosanct practices around time, structures built up around when I work and when I step back, largely enforced by the demands and delights of parenting. And then the pandemic hit. Most things - routines, expectations, plans - are thrown up in the air in time of crisis. As it comes clear that we aren't going to be returning to our "normal" way of life for a good while yet, though, it's also becoming abundantly clear that continuing to live in crisis-response mode is unsustainable.
I've been thinking about how the Sabbath is not just a teaching, or suggestion, or generous invitation, but that it is actually one of the commandments. In that top ten list, it's even number four: it's listed higher than not stealing, not murdering... it's really important. The real kicker for me, though, is that it's not something we have to create. Despite how we often speak, we don't make time or take time. Time just is. And we're not called to dothe Sabbath, or make it or set it up or anything else, but rather just to rememberit. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
As I try to remember this, I'm striving to honor this hallowed time apart, which requires some new creativity in the time of pandemic! We are not permitted to have supply clergy join us for Sunday worship right now, but Bishop Marc has encouraged us to partner with other congregations, taking turns in virtually hosting one another. This way, the clergy, staff and lay leaders can have a break, church can continue, and we get a chance to connect and worship with our neighbors in new ways. To that end, this coming Sunday, May 17th, we will be hosting the good people of Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez, on our live stream at Resurrection. Thank you, in advance, for welcoming them! Then next week, May 24th, you are all encouraged to join their live stream for worship, and Colleen, your lay leaders, and I will be taking the day off. Their service begins at 9:00, and is also on Facebook Live, just as ours is, hosted on their Facebook page.
To recap: Grace Martinez will be worshiping "at" Resurrection on May 17th. Then on May 24th, you all are encouraged to worship "at" Grace Martinez, but note that the service will begin at 9:00 am and is hosted on their Facebook page.
There will be plenty of reminders coming, and helpful web guides will be standing by to assist you in finding your way on the 24th. I'm excited to worship with our neighbors, and grateful for the flexibility to experiment in this way together. I'll be taking all of next week, May 18th- 24th, as vacation, returning to work on the 25th, though you are welcome to call my cell phone in the event of a pastoral emergency. I'm grateful for this time to remember, rest, and reset.
So very much has been upended, and many of our routines have been thrown to the wind these last two months. Still, we're called to remember the Sabbath, and it may take some creativity and experimentation to get there right now. How will you choose time to rest, to re-create, to be recreated yourself this coming week? Is there a new way you can try, even just this week? What might you let go of, put off, or give away? What restores you right now?
These are big questions, and it may take us many tries to find new ways in this time. And even so, this is my prayer for us all: that we may all remember this Sabbath time, and take up these practices of wholeness once again.
Zoom Coffee Hour - an experiment!
Gathering for a coffee hour on Zoom last Sunday was a blast! Join us again this Sunday for this informal time to check in with one another, hear how everyone is doing, and just enjoy seeing each other's faces! We'll gather about 10 minutes after the service ends, so you'll have time to get a treat and pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. Email the office for the Zoom link.
Connecting with your church staff
There have been some questions as to how best to reach your church staff during the shelter in place order. Here's an update:
The office is generally closed, but if you need to drop something off at church (like food for the Monument Crisis Center!) you can email Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail on the office phone, (925) 685-2288, which Tracy is still checking regularly. Tracy's regular days off are Saturday and Sunday.
Rev. Liz is also checking voicemail at church, as well as email, email@example.com. If you have an urgent need or question, you can call her cell phone, which is listed in the directory. Liz's Sabbath day is Friday - please only reach out on Fridays if you are having a pastoral emergency and it really can't wait. Liz will also be on vacation May 18-24.
Colleen and Shannon are both reachable by email: Colleen's is firstname.lastname@example.org and Shannon's is email@example.com.
During this most difficult time of separation from your Community of Faith, you may be feeling spiritually empty. You may find yourself having trouble remembering the last time you truly prayed.
There is hope! Although we are unable to gather at the Healing Prayer Station in the Sanctuary, Church of the Resurrection's Prayer Team is available to pray with you and for you. Simply call the church office (925-685-2288) and ask that a member of the Prayer Team contact you to pray with you over the phone. Or, you could leave a message with a special prayer request. You can even send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and all will be forwarded to the Prayer Team.
Do you feel the need to refresh your personal prayer life? Here is some advice from The Rev. David Stout, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church, Hawaii:
"Make your prayer what those first disciples asked, 'Lord, teach me to pray'. That in itself is a prayer! Stay with that prayer. Jesus offered them a short prayer that today we call 'The Lord's Prayer'. Simply say The Lord's Prayer. One line at a time, slowly. Nothing more. In the spirit of that prayer, 'may God give us our daily bread' - that which we need to truly feed our hungry souls."
Beware of Scammers
We learned this week that a scammer has created a fake email address impersonating Rev. Liz. If you get an email from email@example.com, or from someone saying they are Liz from any email address other than firstname.lastname@example.org, please do not respond and instead forward them to Liz. Rest assured that Liz will never ask you for financial help, gift cards, or the like in an email like this. Please stay safe and when in doubt, double check.
Online Directory Tutorial
On Tuesday, May 19th at 7:00pm George McLain will be hosting a Zoom session to discuss the ins and outs of F1Go, the church's on-line directory system.
Don't worry if you don't have access to F1Go. You can be setup during the session. You will be working with your cell phone or desktop during the session.
George will take you through the various features of the system and answer any questions you have. Hope to see you then. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to George by emailing email@example.com for the Zoom link.
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