As I write this piece Covid-cases are on the rise again. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of mankind. To allow the warmth and love that is all around us to enter our hearts and minds and lift our spirits.

Simple it is to get lost in the dark. 

Difficult it will be to spot the light that guides us out. 

Easier it gets when good spirits help. 

And boy, do I need help. Anyone attending the post-online mass get-together might have seen me arriving in an old silver van. I am in the laborious process of very slowly converting this formerly white van into a camper. I imagined us driving around and camping by now, showing Lital, Tarquin and Annika the beauty of their country and what their neighbors offer as we went from one place to the next. From mountains to sea, from sky to caves, from trees to people, all are part of an amazing creation. I want them to share in that creation, help preserve it and try and show it to others. 

But before that, the van needs fixing. Like any worthwhile project, the van build hit the usual snag only weeks after starting out: we were running over budget. Winter came and the van was all but painted. During winter I insulated it, which took a surprising amount of time. Then I realized that safely transporting, sleeping, feeding and showering 5 people in a 60 square feet package is more than challenging. In fact, even impossible. At least without a complete rethink of how RVs are laid out and work. 

As we prepared for spring, we hit another snag. A quickly spreading disease, collo-quially referred to as Coronavirus, entered the stage. We still do not exactly know how this disease is transmitted, why some people get very ill while others walk away almost unscathed, and when this disease will finally cease. Corona seems too harmless a name for such an ugly illness with so many implications. It is nothing like we have seen in the recent past. A huge cocooning experiment has started, and we have become helpless guinea pigs, though some say we have been increasingly cocooning over the past 30 years or so. Good practice then, so to speak. 

And yet, despite all this separation and division, our society did not collapse as some might have feared, even without copious amounts of toilet paper. Some looked to God for guidance, some abused that guidance unfortunately. We generally took precautions, homeschooled our kids as best we could, and checked on our neighbors periodically. Virtual strangers checked on us during this time of substantial interpersonal, social, and political division. Astute students of the scripture, which I am not, would be unsurprised. About two thousand years ago, at a time of great social and political upheaval, an un-known carpenter started to preach to love your neighbor as yourself. That neighbor might not share you views. But still deserve acceptance, still need help getting back up, still require a warm embrace when all alone. I hope and pray that COVID will pass, but that increased neighborly love and acceptance will stay. 

Maybe some parts of our past should stay in the past. Just like that carpenter some two thousand years ago had to reinvent, reaffirm and carve out our relationship with God, we will have to re-carve our relationships. How we deal with strangers, with the poor and the sick, with the world and our neighbors around us in general. Change is scary but can be rewarding. It requires returning to our foundations to determine what is truly valuable. For example, homeschooling my kids was daunting experience, but spending so much time with them, seeing them struggle and helping them make progress was also nice. A silver lining. 

Change happened in the way we worship as well. Together, but apart. Reaching out to people normally beyond our physical grasp. Reinventing our relationship with God. And with each other. Perhaps we are blessed living through these times. A video call with parents or grand children while being locked in quarantine. A phone call to friends on the other side of country or the globe. Being privy to pain and suffering of complete strangers who share their story. Growing as a people, not because of the many challenges, but be-cause of how we choose to deal with them. All possible now. 

Leaving our last church meeting, the van hit another snag. The fan belt snapped. The name of this belt, just like the virus, doesn’t capture its true meaning. The belt connects the ticking heart of the engine to the rest. It drives the fan, water pump, alternator, power steering and AC. Without it, the van will start but won’t get far, just like our society will get stuck without small connections everywhere. But we can fix them. Some may be a quick fix. Others are more complex needing a little bit of our time. And some require a complete rethink to reach old goals by new ways, like the van rebuild itself. We will continue our journey with Godspeed, so we can share, preserve, and show others our creation. In good spirit then. I am certain of that. 

God bless you all and stay safe 

Vestry Reflections by Giorah Bour