Reading: Matthew 28.16-20
Reflection: There is no doubt about it. These are difficult days for the Church in general, and for specifically for congregations. Even when there is no pandemic on, we feel like the disciples locked in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit to free us from the siege outside. With this pandemic though, there has been a strange reversal. We’ve been locked out of the upper room; we’re no longer allowed to huddle in our buildings, insulated, frightened, and cloistered away from that scary world out there. We are no longer allowed to pretend that we can’t live out our faith publicly, but have to keep in behind the walls of our sanctuaries. We are no longer allowed to think that the sacraments, delivered to us by the clergy who really do the work of the church anyway, will save us without the transformation of our personal and communal lives. We are no longer are allowed to let the Spirit pray for us, but we must let the Spirit pray in us and let it foam and fizz and burn out our of our mouths. We are no longer allowed to ignore words of the great commission: go and make disciples. We can no longer ignore the summary of the law and prophets: Love God with your everything, and love your neighbor as yourself. We can no longer believe that our attendance at church fulfills the great commission and the summary of the law, or any of these things.
We can no longer cower in our churches and pretend that all is well. The world is suffering and, from behind our walls, we are forced into it in a new way. For the love of God and neighbor, even when it is safe to join together in worship (which is not yet, by the way), let us not return to the upper room. Let us remember that our lives as Christians is lived outside room, in the midst of the world, in the midst of the suffering.
Prayer: O loving Father, grant that your Church, being gathered by your Holy Spirit, may be dedicated more fully to your service, and live united in love, according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.