Dear Partners in Mission:
Even though we have yet to begin Lent we are already fast approaching the end of the second month of 2022 and with it the 2 year mark of the Covid-19 pandemic directly impacting our lives. As has been well noted this pandemic has widened cracks in our society and caused great hardship. First and foremost we mourn the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to the disease, with thousands of lives still daily being lost, but we also mourn and grieve so much else we have lost.
Last Sunday our epistle text was from 1 Corinthians 15. Paul writing to those asking for details about the resurrection of the dead says “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.”
Essentially Paul is calling out all those who think resurrection will simply be a return to what was before. No, he says. That cannot be because what was before has died. Something new will take place that is God’s doing. I reflected on that text with the leaders I was meeting with on Sunday and I think it is worth our reflection as well. I believe the church has been fundamentally been changed in the last two years. Many things have died. We grieve those things. But their is resurrection for us in Christ. It just won’t be a return to what was. There is no going back to February 22, 2020.
While that may seem like bad news it is also good news. While we have lost we have also gained in this time. We have new skills, new priorities, new focus. Many things that may have been extraneous to the mission of the church, to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, have had to be cut. They need not necessarily return. Something new will take their place and we continue to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in discerning what that will be.
May God be with you in this time of grief and also resurrection. Know your synod staff is here to support your congregation as you seek to be faithful to your mission. Please get your voting members registered for our in-person synod assembly April 29-30th. And most of all I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit we will have the faith to see God’s new things happening in our midst.