The irony of trying to introduce myself in the midst of a pandemic where we are encouraged to keep distance from one another is not lost on me. Believe it or not, we’re not taught in theology school how to develop relationships while in lockdown. I have been inspired by many of the online offerings of community; from Facebook groups, Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, Skype and FaceTime we are all finding ways to connect, unideal and glitch-riddled as they may be. Even still, Zooming into the living rooms of people I don’t know well or placing myself into unknown inboxes still feels a bit uncomfortable at this point.
As we journey through Easter together, we encounter many uncomfortable moments. We know the story well. We know of the afflictions Jesus endured, we know of the grief felt by those close to him and we know how the story concludes. Even though we’ve heard the story countless times and even though we know the stone is eventually rolled away, it is still uncomfortable to hear the details and to walk the journey to the cross each year. Time and time again I am struck by how essential it is to have community to share this uncomfortable journey with; walking through this story alone feels most daunting, if not impossible.
And the importance of community does not stop with walking through difficult stories from our past, the importance of journeying as a community resonates in many relevant ways, especially when considering our present reality. We are living in the midst of great discomfort. Our social norms have been uprooted, our economy has been rattled, we hear staggering statistics from across the world and we sit waiting. Wondering. Praying. Where is the end? How will my community be impacted? How will I be impacted? When will the stone be rolled away and when will we be free to wander and experience a true Easter of resurrection, assurance, grace and renewed faith?
Having said all that, perhaps a pandemic is the perfect time to introduce myself. While I will never pretend to have all the answers, I can assure you I will be devote in moving through this as a community. The story is indeed daunting, if not impossible, should we try to go it alone. I have been encouraged to see FBCH in action during the COVID crisis. No one person alone can say all that needs to be said or do all that needs to be done and I’ve seen remarkable examples of a community’s collective strength in the short time I have been with FBCH. Being welcomed into this community of faith at such an odd time has been a huge gift to me and I cannot wait to return this gift as we continue to learn more about each other.
If in this time you need to connect, please reach out. If you have little ones with questions, please ask away. If you have ideas on how we might move forward as a community of faith, please let me know. If you’re in need of some craft or art projects (one of my specialities!) to keep busy in this time of isolation, I would love to offer resources. In the coming days I will be working to overcome my own feelings of discomfort as I reach out to families and youth I have not yet met to make connections and find opportunities to gather virtually.
Together, as many parts that constitute the one resurrected body of Jesus Christ, we move forward.
Deepest blessings on your Easter weekend.
Interim Minister of Faith Development
To learn more about Rhonda, read her bio page on our website.