The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 19, 2020

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Emmaus, PA

Reflections on The Season of Pentecost

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 19, 2020

By Rev. Jane Bender

Dear St. Margaret’s Family,

Romans 8:15Greetings to you all and I hope this letter finds you well!

Mo. Laura, Kathy Leber, Connie Allport, and I met with Bp. Kevin via Zoom to discuss the particulars of the reopening of St. Margaret’s to in-person worship.  The bottom line is that there is consensus, including the entire Vestry, that we want to continue to be extremely cautious about reopening especially with the new surge of infections.

We do, of course, have our written protocols in place, and approved by Diocesan House, for when we reopen.  We still do not have a target date, but one “guess-timate” may be the middle to the end of August.  One thing that we realize will be overcoming the “fear factor” of resuming in-person contact.

St. Paul addresses the issue of fear in the Romans passage for this week.

“All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear; but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba, Father” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God……”

What an encouraging word for our present time of pandemic and national unrest!  We are NOT to be enslaved by fear. We have been assured that we are the very children of God!   Paul goes on to say:

“For in hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

The Genesis passage recounts Jacob’s encounter with God in a dream.  This is when he has the vision of the ladder (Jacob’s ladder!) with the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  Then the Lord spoke to Jacob and assured him with promises of giving the land to him.  Jacob awoke and exclaimed: “Surely the Lord is in this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven”.

Are you rediscovering the presence of God in your daily life and routines?  Even tho’ we are not in coming together at our beloved St. Margaret’s – are you sensing the presence of the Lord at your dining room table, while you’re reading, watching a movie? On your walks, on your Zoom calls?  Are you able to say daily “Surely the Lord is in this place”?  This, I believe, is a silver lining in our present days and months of pandemic which requires self-quarantining and physical distancing.  That we rediscover the holiness of everyday life – pared down – where simple pleasures seem to be the best.

We need not fear. Surely the Lord is in this place!

God bless you and keep you in God’s loving embrace,