One of the results of the long night of the Covid-19 pandemic is the way it has accelerated trends that have afflicted our society for a long time. In the church, for instance, any reluctance to embrace technology that connected people virtually was swept away by the necessity to connect when we could not gather. The long-term trend of waning involvement in religious life went into high gear as the pandemic offered the perfect motivation to end the habit of weekly worship or other involvement in the congregation.
As lots of you know, I like to cook. When I find a recipe that works, that produces some tasty delight, many might say that the next time I make the dish, I should follow the cultural advice, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I think this is bad advice. There is always room for improvement. Next time I make the same dish, I experiment. Maybe it is because I was once an aspiring jazz musician who lived to improvise. Maybe it is a faith thing – we worship a God who says, “I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5
As another St. Patrick’s Day comes upon us, most of the attention will be on the celebration of Irish culture with corned beef and cabbage and green beer. The degrading stereotype of the Irish as “drunks” will play out in pubs and parades that all really miss the fact that this day is a feast day for a saint of the Christian faith. Green beer and drunkenness have nothing to do with it.
In about one month, Pastor Pam Schroeder will begin retirement. As the day draws ever closer, some of us are, well, freaking out a little. First, there is the realization that a colleague, friend, and spiritual leader who has been integral to our lives will no longer be around. A kind of anticipatory grief is dawning on us. Second, we are beginning to ask with greater urgency, “What do we do now?” That leads to questions about whether we have a replacement lined up, what is happening with a call process, and who will do what Pastor Pam has done.
As we all watch the naked aggression of an unprovoked attack on Ukraine by a Russian leader mad with power, I must admit I feel a little helpless, and a bit more hopeless. Helpless because it seems at first flush, there is not much I can do. Hopeless because it is just one more example of a world circling the drain, a humanity bent on its own destruction. So, what can one do? Pray.