“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
One year ago, this past Sunday, I lead my last pre-COVID worship service. There were no face coverings. We did not physically distance. We sang all the verses of all the hymns. We shared the Sacrament of Holy Communion. I blessed the children as they ambled forward and made the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads.
But we also sensed on that 2020 mid-March morning that something was coming. Something that felt ominous and uncertain. Instead of Sharing the Peace by shaking hands, I taught the congregation how to Share the Peace in American Sign Language. The parish secretary had called some of the older members to encourage them to consider staying at home on this particular Sunday morning. Of course, they did not. One older lady in a walker told me that she couldn’t stay home; she wanted to meet me. I remember another woman saying that the possibility of a quarantine reminded her of the polio epidemic from when she was a girl. “That was a scary time” she whispered to me. We were on the precipice of a new thing, but had no idea of the extent, the depth, and the duration. This has been a year like no other.
But even now, one year later, we see that God continues to be present, continues to be near, and continues to make all things new. As the prophet Isaiah writes, during a difficult time in the life of God’s people, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). Even as I write these words, I glance over at the flower bed and see the crocuses blooming and the daffodils breaking their way through the soil, and I am hopeful, so very hopeful.
I am hopeful for the decline in new COVID19 infections and for the rise in vaccinations. I am hopeful for our pastors, deacons, and parish leaders who continue to share the love of Jesus in the community. And I am hopeful for a crucified and risen Lord, through whom all of creation is restored and renewed. Yes, I am hopeful, so very hopeful.
In the book, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, John O’Donohue writes this about new beginnings:
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the new world that awaits you.
“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). Yes, I am hopeful, so very hopeful.
I’d love to hear what is bringing you hope these days?
And where do you see God doing a new thing in your community?