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23 March 2020
On an Ash Wednesday morning 5 or 6 years ago, I began my day at the town Waffle House. In those days, Waffle House was my “go-to” for hash browns and eggs (heavy on the hot sauce), impromptu church meetings, and teen prayer breakfasts. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed one of my Methodist colleagues offering “Drive Thru Ashes” for commuters who, while in a hurry, were ready to mark the beginning of the Lenten fast. I didn’t engage my colleague that morning. In a highbrow state of mind, I just rolled my eyes, mumbling to myself about all the ways a parking lot isn’t church.
This past Sunday, Messiah offered drive thru communion and prayer. A small cadre of socially-distanced volunteers made this ministry possible, doing everything from preparing communion elements to raising and lowering the canopy that kept the communion elements protected from “the elements.” Two couples were onsite with me, one coordinating emergency food distribution while the other readied Spanish translation services should a Latinx family arrive for communion. Meanwhile, several tech-savvy parishioners contributed from home, posting worship and Sunday school videos prepared by Messiah staff and volunteers. We improvised, we gathered in the parking lot and around computer screens, we were CHURCH.
When the Spirit moved on the Day of Pentecost, hunkered down disciples stepped away from their shelters and into the streets of Jerusalem. With passion and purpose, the daughters and sons of God announced the Good News to a crowd ripe for transformation. The Church wasn’t confined to a space, it was (and is) the connected family of God on the move for the sake of the world.
While we can’t sit in our pews right now, huddle in Sunday school rooms, or sip our coffee in the Gathering Area, we can still be the Church. The Spirit is moving among us, with invitations to improvise, gather around Word and Sacrament, and keep the People of God connected.
We’re scattered these days, friends, but covered by Grace without end.
Reading for Today: Acts 2:1-21