I pray that you are healthy and safe during this COVID-19 health crisis. Your spiritual, mental, and physical health is very important to me especially while we are physically separated. I pray for you daily and ask that you send me your prayer requests. We will compile these weekly for our prayer ministers.
This is the second weekly Lent Pastoral Letter from me. Going forward, you will receive it on Sunday afternoons. I will include updates, links for daily and weekly worship (see links below), COVID-19 health information, and community resources for help. This information will also be available on our website holyfaithinglewood.org and our Holy Faith Episcopal Church Community group Facebook page. If you are not yet a member, click the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/252853498463373/?hc_ref=ARS-2UWcQuHCvZpLCPk_3n58w-G1z4-pp8YiSr02AoQohUyILLQzp2u3DHAyjD5mfoo&ref=nf_targetask
to be included.
We are living in a new time of strict quarantine and social distancing, but we do not have to be spiritually isolated. There are several ways that Holy Faith is adopting to offer hope, strength, and resources as we move through our collective anxiety and fear. While the Bible mentions dozens (some say over 300) ways to say, “fear not” or “do not be afraid,” I admit to my own fears for my family, you, and the world. The disciples knew fear. The fear of the storm in the boat before Jesus calmed the sea. Fear for Jesus as they moved toward Jerusalem. And fear for themselves as they followed Jesus to the cross. They lied, denied, and betrayed. How human…to fear even knowing that God was right beside them (us). We will combat fear with knowledge in order to encourage preparedness.
We are not only in the season of Lent, are living out the 40 days of Lent right now. Is it easier to identify with Jesus’ suffering while we have withdrawn to our own deserts as we shelter in place? The disorientation of working from home, kids out of school, making only essential trips for food and medicine outside our homes is bewildering, chaotic, or lonely for most of us.
Tomorrow, the 4th Sunday in Lent, the lectionary calls out Psalm 23. Read it, and then read it again. Find a friend or family member or call someone to read it with you another time. Listen to “for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Know that this is real. Lift each other up when that knowing is difficult. We are all in this together.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Remember that keeping distance is an act of solidarity and love. Please be safe, worship with brothers and sisters online, and use the resources for you and your family’s health. Keep in touch with each other and call or text me at (310) 720-6814 if you are in need.
Yours in Christ,
Concerning COVID-19 with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
11:15am Sunday Service at Washington National Cathedral
11:00am Morning Prayer at St. John's Cathedral Los Angeles
St. Augustine by-the-Sea Virtual Connections
Morning Prayer, Community Check-in, Bible Study, and more!
6:00 pm All Saints Beverly Hills Daily Livestreaming Compline
Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations: There’s still time to subscribe by clicking here. You can also listen to Lenten Meditations this year! If you find yourself working from home, I suggest using the 5-minute Lenten Meditation podcast as an opportunity for a few morning stretches. You’ll start your work day with an energized spirit and body. Explore our resources for Connection in the Midst of an Epidemic.