Pastor’s Message

Written by Barbara F. Aspinall on Mar 17, 2020

Dear Friends,

As I look at the draft of the newsletter for April created back in early March, my first thought is to lament the loss of our plans – that the Maundy Thursday supper won’t be happening, that our Easter Sunday services will not happen in the way we expected.  My second thought however, is to remember that in the face of this terrible virus and the attendant social distancing measures, with the expertise and time of wonderful helpers, we have found new ways to worship, new ways to create worship services and new ways to communicate with folks. Who knew Zoom?

So, though I do not know exactly what form our continuing life together as a church community will take in this period of coronavirus, I can tell you that there will be care for our members; there will be worship; there will be connection and communication; there will be the Word; there will be prayer; and there will be music. And whether we are in our church sanctuary or not, Easter will come and we will once again celebrate that our Christ has risen indeed.

One of my favorite book series is the one by Alexander McCall Smith that begins with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The series takes place in Botswana and the main character is a “traditionally built lady” detective, Mma Precious Ramotswe.  I have always found these gentle stories life-affirming and a celebration of God’s gift to us of our humanity, despite our inclination to make mistakes, to sin. Alexander McCall Smith composed the following poem in March of this year in response to the virus that has so affected our lives.

In a time of distance
The unexpected always happens in the way
The unexpected has always occurred:
While we are doing something else,
While we are thinking of altogether
Different things – matters that events
Then show to be every bit as unimportant
As our human concerns so often are;
And then, with the unexpected upon us,
We look at one another with a sort of surprise;
How could things possibly turn out this way
When we are so competent, so pleased
With the elaborate systems we’ve created –
Networks and satellites, intelligent machines,
Pills for every eventuality – except this one?
And so we turn again to face one another
And discover those things
We had almost forgotten,
But that, mercifully, are still there:
Love and friendship, not just for those
To whom we are closest, but also for those
Whom we do not know and of whom
Perhaps we have in the past been frightened;
The words brother and sister, powerful still,
Are brought out, dusted down,
Found to be still capable of expressing
What we feel for others, that precise concern;
Joined together in adversity
We discover things we had put aside:
Old board games with obscure rules,
Books we had been meaning to read,
Letters we had intended to write,
Things we had thought we might say
But for which we never found the time;
And from these discoveries of self, of time,
There comes a new realization
That we have been in too much of hurry,
That we have misused our fragile world,
That we have forgotten the claims of others
Who have been left behind;
We find that out in our seclusion,
In our silence; we commit ourselves afresh,
We look for a few bars of song
That we used to sing together,
A long time ago; we give what we can,
We wait, knowing that when this is over
A lot of us – not all perhaps – but most,
Will be slightly different people,
And our world, though diminished,
Will be much bigger, its beauty revealed afresh.

Yours in Christ,

Barbara F. Aspinall