I pray that this message finds you in good health and discovering new ways of being connected with one another in the midst of this coronavirus. if you’re like me, you’re struggling to comprehend all that is happening. News reports unfold so quickly, describing the widespread suffering that this insidious illness is causing as it isolates us from one another, eats away at our usual ways of life, and drains our economic resources.

In the midst of such upheaval, it is so unsettling not to have our faith community close at hand. Closing our doors to worship and all ministry – including our 12-step groups – seems so un-churchlike, especially since it wasn’t that long ago that our byword was “Rise! Renew! rejoice! Opening our doors to all!” And yet, I appreciate how we are protecting one another with our closed doors. We are protecting the most vulnerable among us, those who are most susceptible to the devastating consequences of COVID-19. We are doing our part to contain the virus’s spread.

As disruptive as it is, staying at home has also shined a light on aspects of daily life that I find truly important and life-giving. It has helped me reflect on the importance of relationships and the mutual joy that reaching out brings. I’m embracing the gift of slowing down and paying attention to my surroundings. We enjoy talking from our new porch with young neighbors who offer to shop for us and whose children’s chatter and sidewalk chalk art bring joy into otherwise dark places. I’ve also found deeper consolation in regular prayer, and a deeper sense of gratitude for the many blessings that God has given me.

And most of all, despite the fear of and anxiety about the unknown, I have hope. I have hope in God as Easter approaches. Although Easter 2020 didn’t look like the Easter we’ve come to expect, Easter did indeed come. This year I pray that instead of preparing our churches for Easter, we have prepared our hearts to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. And I pray that on Easter Day and afterward, as we acclaim, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” from the shelter of our homes, we truly feel Christ’s resurrection creating us anew.

Reaching out in this time of isolation – by Pam Tinsley