COVID-19 April 21 Update

Friends

What are we learning as we live through this time of uncertainty and change? How do we use this experience to create a better world in the future?

These were a couple of the questions our COVID-19 working group discussed at the end of our meeting on April 20, 2020. We are all experiencing a life that has many unfamiliar characteristics that most of us never anticipated. A life where we are missing aspects of our usual daily existence. A life where the interactions and physical closeness to others is difficult. A life where planning for a year, a month or even a week from now seems tenuous and even careless.

However, through all this uncertainty there appears to be light, joy and creativity seeping into our daily actions. The new neighbours we meet as we walk near our homes, keeping a physical distance. The pure joy of simply being outside and feeling the wind and sunshine on our skin. The experience of coming together each Sunday morning in front of our television, smart phone or computer screen to be part of meaning worship. The excitement of calling someone or being called and the opportunity for conversation. The time for personal reflection as we come to terms with what really is important in our lives.

As we look into the future and a new normal somewhere down the road, how will these learnings and understanding we are gaining today influence what the community of Mill Woods United Church might be? When we are given the go-ahead to open-up again, do we simply pick-up where we left off on March 15, 2020, or do we take the opportunity to create something new, something rejuvenated, something that reflects a new appreciation for life, friendship and community?

As the community of Mill Woods United Church our future is bright and filled with unlimited potential. The opportunities for new beginnings and adventure abound. What are your thoughts? Please let us know.

I hope you will enjoy the meditation included below — The Robins are Back – by Florence Niven. As she so beautifully says: The robins are back. There’s hope. The light is partially obscured just now, but make no mistake. It’s still there.

Getting together: One on – One off!
Coffee-time Gathering: Please join us after worship on Sunday April 26, 2020 for our second Zoom coffee-time. Bring your own coffee, find your most comfortable chair and connect through the link below.  An opportunity to chat with others, find out what they are doing, and see their beautiful faces.
Join Zoom Meeting at 11:15 am on Sunday April 26, 2020
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83105482033?pwd=QlZ1UVFPZlM5cDZTMUY4blFWdUNQUT09

Where’s the Beef? Zucchini? Ribs? Our annual barbecue planned for Saturday May 23, 2020 has been cancelled. Thanks to Gary and Laverne Boswell who were going to host this activity – we will be back in 2021.

The Robins are Back – by Florence Niven

The robins are back. They’ve built a spectacularly messy nest on top of the light by our front door, obscuring the warm glow of our shaker-style lantern with long tendrils of garden debris – once the protective layer around last year’s perennials, now a tattered veil.
Our feathered friends are not happy with us. They flap their wings in alarm when we venture outside, scold us with loud staccato chirps, ‘Step away! Step away!’ Even on our own front step we’re reminded of boundaries. Respecting the rules of social distancing, we choose an alternate exit. Finding, as we’ve had to during this pandemic, different ways of doing things.

It’s interesting that this time of global isolation began during Lent, the season Christians traditionally find themselves contemplating a metaphorical wilderness. Waiting for the last exhausting exclamations of winter to subside. Watching for the many gifts of rebirth and renewal spring has to offer. Except this year, the celebration has been delayed. The light obscured by a tattered veil. We must be patient. Mindful.

We stay home for the well-being of our communities, especially those most vulnerable, and pray our politicians make wise decisions on our behalf. We stay home for the nurses and doctors so they can better manage the overwhelming task before them. We stay home for the essential workers making sure our cities, towns and villages function during and after this crisis.

Adapting to our new normal, we reach out to one another through the wonders of technology – frequent phone calls, virtual chats. We hold office meetings from the safety of home quarantine. Seek online educational assistance for children – and parents trying to teach. Support food banks and Red Cross workers with paperless e-transfers and fervent prayers.

We stream yoga, art and music classes to move and be moved. We hold family game nights, inviting cross-country participation, to remind us how it feels to laugh, to be with one another.
In doing so we pick up the ties broken by the virus and weave them into new connections. Trusting, anticipating, knowing, the restrictive mandates will eventually be lifted. Through it all we stand firm in our belief that we are not alone. We live in God’s world. We seek out signs of hope in the wakening gardens and morning birdcalls. The unfurling of tender leaves, the burst of magnolia and cherry blossoms.

In time we will ease back into our communities and social groups. Cautiously, optimistically, picking up the natural rhythms of our lives. We can never go back, of course; our paths are forever changed. But we can move forward having learned from this experience, grown from this challenge. We will mourn our losses. Laud our heroes. Be stronger for having endured.

The robins are back. There’s hope. The light is partially obscured just now, but make no mistake. It’s still there.

Enjoy these beautiful spring days.
Rob McPhee