Dear People of St. Francis,
Masks are off or optional in many settings. I listen to your summer plans and hear long delayed lunches, trips and family visits woven into your calendars. Our church calendar includes in-person meetings and social gatherings again. Life seems to be returning to “normal.”
But as we emerge from the pandemic, the thought that we will return back to things “just like they were” will only leave us disappointed at best and depressed at worst. If we look to the story of the Israelites in Babylonian captivity, we can find a model for the lament we may need to express. Broken apart as a nation, Israel dreamed of the day it would be reunited as a nation once again. When that day arrived, it turns out that many Israelites wanted to remain in Babylon. They had been there for generations. They had gained freedoms. They wanted to stay. The long dreamed of reunited nation did not come to be. In the face of this shattered dream, the prophet Isaiah laments on behalf of the people.
Return to life. Enjoy and rejoice! But as you do, take time to pause, to pray, and to lament things gone and dreams broken. This is the work we began last week as a congregation through our Covid Ritual of Remembrance (see picture above). And as always, I am here for you in both prayer and pastoral care as you undertake this important work of lamentation.