We asked folks from all over ECCT to submit reflections on their experiences during this time of quarantine, physical distancing, and uncertainty. We asked where you see God in this, what you are learning, and how you are caring for yourself in this time. We were overwhelmed with the response of essays, videos, poems, and more.
Here are some of the reflections, more to come next week.
If you would like to submit your reflection, please email email@example.com. We ask you to please include your name, parish/worshiping community, a photo to go with your reflection, and to keep your reflections to under 600 words.
St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, CT
Whenever I go for a walk in my neighborhood, I see God in the random acts of kindness and artwork people are sharing — beautiful designs and uplifting messages made with chalk and notes on doors thanking our first responders and essential employees. One individual gave away her own watercolor paintings. I also witness God at work in the new opportunities I have been granted through Zoom to connect with others that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible due to geography: from writers’ groups and workshops to yoga classes. I have continued to see God at work within my home parish as we conduct daily services through livestreamed worship and hold Zoom gatherings of all kinds: virtual coffee hours, young adults, and a session with breakout rooms for deeper conversations. We also have been checking in with one another.
We may be apart, but I feel we are stronger and together in a deeper way.
God is manifesting in these and other daily self-care routines and practices which have been sustaining me throughout this ordeal. This awareness of God’s very real presence in me, my experiences, and people with whom I connect, is teaching me how very much we are God alive and at work in the world. If God can be present through what is healing and nurturing, then it means God wants nothing more for us to be healed and alive. We will get through this. Just as Christ rose on the third day, we–the global we–will rise into new life from this shared experience.
Eric Thomas, M. D.
St. Stephen’s, East Haddam
I find God in the deserted – the empty – the quiet spaces of a hospital that is otherwise terribly busy only 100 feet away with ventilators in both the ICU and reconfigured Operating Rooms.
This is a recent video from Middlesex Hospital.
The Rev. Amjad Samuel
St. Paul’s, Shelton
I am hearing God speak loud and clear during this time of COVID-19. I am hearing God’s words to David via Nathan when David decided to build God a house (2 Samuel 7:4-7). I am hearing Stephen’s recounting of the story of our salvation to the council. I am hearing how God walks with us in every situation. I am hearing that this God likes to walk and not be stationary. I am hearing that this God does not like to be locked up in a “house” (Acts 7:48).
I am seeing God at work with great clarity. I am seeing the Church that can walk with a mobile God emerging. I am seeing creativity and imagination. I am seeing possibilities. I am seeing people saying yes to their walk with God. I am seeing an exodus. I am seeing people who were leaders of a church that had God neatly stuck in a building, in an organizational structure, finding this God-walk hard. I am seeing them give up. I am seeing an exodus. I am seeing a new generation of leaders emerge. I am seeing quality, strong, decisive, collaborative leadership emerge for both laity and clergy. I am witnessing why God ordains people to lead God’s people and not merely be a facilitator of good tidings.
I am experiencing love in some very real ways. I am recipient of more food in the last few weeks by my parishioners than ever before. I have received more phone calls, texts, emails, and video calls from my colleagues and loved ones alike than I ever did before. I am experiencing the joy of being with my wife during the day. Even my dog loves me more now.
I am much more relaxed and laid back now. I am putting to use my love for sounds; making them, and recording them – music! I am so enjoying doing virtual choir. I love hearing our choir sing on their devices and sending me their recordings to work on for our virtual Worship every week.
I am feeling frustrated that I cannot be around people. I am missing witnessing my people yawn as I preach. I am missing all the hugs and kisses I get at church. I miss being able to hold someone close as s/he struggles through life. Offering pastoral care via a phone call is just not the same as being in person. I cry for I feel restricted in expressing my love and care.
I now say, “God is with us” and not “God be with you”. For if there is one thing COVID-19 has opened me to, it is just that: God is with us. I hope when this pandemic is behind us we will still value relationships. I hope that we will not go back to spending all our resources in maintaining buildings where God never wanted to live in the first place. I hope that we will begin to invest more in leadership than in buildings and organizational structures. I hope we will be collaborative, creative, imaginative, and lean more into the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
I hope that we will be on an exodus once again, for God is definitely with us.
Christ Church, Guilford
PALM SUNDAY SERMON, a poem
This day we will not join
our fellow Christians
on the Guilford Green
in celebration of
Our Lord’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem.
We must bear in mind
came despair and death
to be eclipsed by
the glory of the resurrection.
St. John’s, Essex
Where do I see God? I see God everyday in the faces of the first responders, the nurses, doctors and EMTs. I see God in the hard work of Dr. Fauci and the incredible stress he must be under working with this administration. He is a man devoted to helping his fellow man and is a hero and a national treasure.
I am learning how to not go stir crazy during the isolation of the lockdown. I do work around my house and I take a daily sanity drive. I just take a ride in a different direction each day and enjoy God’s beauty in this world. I get some fresh air and am not in contact with anyone. I am also learning patience, something that has avoided me for my whole life. I don’t know if it will last (probably not) when this is over but for the moment it has sunk in that I’m in and there’s nothing I can do about it. That being said, I would give anything though for a haircut!!!
I am taking care of myself by keeping a normal routine, still eating well, and trying to enjoy the down time. I watch a couple of devotional programs most days put on Facebook by some clergy friends. I watch Facebook services from different churches and the Washington National Cathedral. I also call friends too keep in contact and to check on their well being.
The Rev. Dr. Martha Tucker
Christ Church, Sharon
What is in the Waiting?
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” Psalm 130:5.
What is waiting, besides you and me, in this time of isolation? Much has been written about what we will do when we are sprung! Haircuts, restaurant visits, gyms, hugs, jobs, in church worship, book group actual gatherings, just to name a few of the things for which we are waiting. But what is waiting for our attention differently; what have we learned? What is in the waiting? Is there a spirituality of waiting?
Waiting on God is a favorite topic for many mystics. It might be wondrous and contemplative. But during this time of COVID-19, waiting is more often than not connected to anxiety and fear. We wait for results, we wait for financial news, we wait for cures.
Much has been collapsed into the phrase, “I cannot wait to get back to normal!” To which I respond: Wait! What!?
When confronted with this kind of waiting or any translation of waiting which aligns it with “normalcy”, I get jittery and anxious. And I wait for new prayers to emerge which gently hold the question at another angle. I can’t wait to celebrate priesthood more fully. I can’t wait to process the new and the meaning of all this. I can’t wait to experience God in all this.
While there is certainly a liberation from this imposed isolation which does await and a certain refreshment (like getting a haircut!), I wonder whether there is also a freedom into which we are living, a freedom from some of the previous expectations.
And as Psalm 130 indicates waiting on the Lord is not only crucial but there is hope in and for the waiting. So I am going to try to tilt my waiting toward the angle of holy hope and play with redefining “normal”.
Thank you to all those who have already submitted reflections, more will be published on the blog. If you are interested in submitting a thought, poem, artwork, song, video, essay, or any other type of reflection please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask you to please include your name, parish/worshiping community, a photo to go with your reflection, and to keep your reflections to under 600 words.
Stay safe. 💗