Dear Partners in Mission:
A week ago we sent an email encouraging all of our leaders across NT-NL’s territory to be aware of the coming cold weather and winter precipitation. And indeed that weather and precipitation has arrived and looks to be staying with us longer than anticipated. Obviously this creates both anxiety and real danger for our communities and our leaders. I am gratified to see via conversations and social media that you have taken this threat seriously. Now I write to you to have patience and pray for you the peace that passes human understanding.
While we cannot change the reality of this winter storm and its impacts there are small things you can do in this time to care for your neighbor. Just as we have been encouraging you in this time of Covid-19 to put the health and well being of neighbor first so now you also can care for your neighbor and be good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with in this time.
If you do not need to travel stay home. I have instructed synod staff they are to do no work related travel this week without consulting me. Those in charge of buildings and your own homes can and hopefully have taken steps like wrapping and dripping pipes (which given the extent of this storm may not yet be enough), turning heat on but at lower levels to conserve electricity (assuming you have power), using space heaters safely to avoid fires. This is what your onsite staff at Briarwood is doing to protect that resource as I write to you. You also can and should call and check on members of your community, particularly shut ins and other vulnerable populations in your midst. Utilize the online skills (assuming you have power and internet access) you have cultivated in this time of Covid-19 to continue to connect for worship and begin the holy season of Lent on Wednesday.
Most of all in this extended period of cold and weather you can take time to pray, to contemplate the power of God’s creation, to be aware of and give thanks for the gifts you have been entrusted with to steward, to consider again how the cracks in our society have been revealed and the reality that we are in the same storm but we are in vastly different boats.
Ash Wednesday calls us to consider our mortality. To remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. But it also reminds you that you were given life by God from that very dust. Given life so that you might serve God and neighbor, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. As you begin another pandemic Lent, this time with a crippling winter storm as well, I urge you to take time to consider how these experiences are changing you and your community. How this might reorient your priorities, and that this can be good news.
Lent prepares us for the world altering change of Christ’s death and resurrection. You are being transformed by these experiences. You have been transformed by the waters of baptism in which you are joined to Christ’s death and resurrection. God bless you, be safe, check on one another, and as you can, stay warm.