Worship At Home
Small Group Reflection of 10-04-20

 

In these days of social distancing we have endeavored to provide a Corpus Christi online worship experience. The Worship At Home web page has been our attempt to provide that. One of the ways our community has used this resource has been to gather virtually in real time using video conferencing software like FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, and Zoom. In an effort to hold onto our deep liturgical roots, one virtual group has gone to the point of having rotating presiders, lectors, and even homilists. The reflections provided by the members of this group have often been very inspiring. In an effort to share these reflections with the larger community several of them have been collected and published here on the CC website.

Reflection from 10-04-20, provided by Cheryl Brady.

 


I know that the pandemic has been a stressful time for all of us.  I’m grateful that I feel like we have been doing well because of our many blessings – wonderful family and friends, a comfortable home, Sunday morning Zoom church, our marriage group, enough food to eat (and wine to drink!), access to excellent health care, volunteer opportunities, and our dog, to name a few.  Early on we made the decision to be very careful and not go out to restaurants, go to others’ homes or invite people into our home, but that hasn’t stopped us from being creative so we can spend time outside sharing social distance connections with family and friends, walking, biking, gardening and many other activities … we have settled into our new “normal” and things have been working quite well.

However, just as we have become accustomed to our new way of living, the days are growing shorter and the temperature has started to drop.  Now I find myself feeling stressed and worried about how life will change when winter is upon us.  Many questions fill my mind and keep me awake at night:  How will we be able to stay connected and spend time with family and friends?  How will we fill the hours in our day when it’s too cold to spend time outside?  Will our daughter be able to come home from New York City for Christmas?  How can we take Corky for long walks when it’s cold and icy?  Will we be able to get away at some point during the winter, and where could we go that feels safe?  And on and on …

When I read today’s second scripture message, this section really spoke to me:

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

It made me think about some of the other challenging times in my life when I learned to breathe and trust that God would give me the strength to get through the difficult days and handle whatever happened.  I also remembered that those challenges also brought many blessings, even though they might not have been apparent at the time:

– After our first child was born and just before I was planning to return to work in the job I loved, I found out the arrangement I had made to work part-time was being rescinded.  I scrambled and managed to find a different part-time opportunity, but leaving a place where I had worked for 15 years and where I had been comfortable was very scary at the time. I took the job out of necessity. It didn’t take long to realize it was the best move I could ever have made for both me and my family. It gave me flexibility when our kids were young and it allowed me to learn new skills so I could do human resources work later in my career.

– After my Dad had lung surgery and a mistake was made, he struggled for three and a half years before he passed away.  It was a very difficult time for him and for us, but we experienced so many blessings during those years – we had time for long conversations and the chance to share some wonderful times together; he lived long enough to see his grandson and was able to spend lots of time with both of his grandchildren; and through his incredible determination he taught us how to live and die with courage.

– My Mom almost died from a severe stroke. It turned out to be a blessing of sorts. Before the stroke, she had been in decline for several years but had stubbornly resisted any talk of moving into assisted living. After the stroke, she lost what the doctors called “any sense of place,” and accepted the move into a memory care facility with grace and contentment. We were able to share many special times with her and comfort her before she passed away peacefully 15 months later.

What all these experiences have taught me is to place my trust in “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding,” whatever the circumstances I face. I’m not saying, as Paul does, that I “have no anxiety at all,” but I do my best to “let go and let God” and, as Paul says, to make my requests known to God in a spirit of prayer, petition and thanksgiving, and then trust that events will unfold as they should.

There is an old Chinese folk story about a kind old man who was skilled in interpreting events.  One day, his son’s horse ran away. Everyone tried to console him, but the father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”  Some months later the son’s horse returned, bringing along with it a stallion.  Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?”  A short time later, the horse fell while the son was riding and the boy broke his hip.  Everyone tried to console his father, but he said, “What makes you sure this isn’t a blessing?”  Two years later all of the neighbors were drafted to defend against an attack when an enemy invaded the country and most were killed. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other.  Morale of the story? Truly blessings turn to disaster and disasters turn to blessing. The changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.”

So as I think more about the upcoming challenges I fear, I thank God for the gifts of faith, hope and love that he has blessed me with and I pray for the strength to focus on the blessings of this time.