Sparks, prayers, and safety.
Dear friends and members of St. Matt's,
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)
A few months ago, a group of us stood around the campfire and burned the greens of Christmas. We lit sparklers and drank hot chocolate. And the light from the fire, the light from the sparklers, danced round us. Across the generations, members held these lights in the air, casting their sparks off into the darkness. And I remember thinking: this is the light of Christ. Shining in the darkness.
Like you, I've watched the news of increased COVID cases across the country carefully over these last few weeks. And now, we see the numbers in Connecticut, in Wilton, and in our surrounding towns beginning to rise. So today, I want to encourage you again to continue being vigilant. Please wear face masks when you are out in public or with anyone who isn't in your immediate family unit. Remember that these don't actually protect you - they protect everyone around you. In order for you to be safe, everyone around you needs to be wearing a facemask, too. A reminder that as Christians, and just as people, our welfare is deeply intertwined with that of our neighbors. Please continue to practice social distance and be sure that your kids do as well. What's become clear in the last week as cases near us have gone up is that our kids and young adults are at risk of both catching and sharing this virus. And it is still true that we don't know right away whether or not we have the virus, symptoms don't appear for quite some time.
As Episcopalians, we believe that we are called to respect the dignity of every human being. And that means that we are also called to do everything we can to stop the transmission of this virus. I'd encourage you to stay up to date on what's happening in your town and do all that you can to keep yourself, your family, and our larger community safe. If you are part of a vulnerable population, please continue to stay in and stay safe as much as you can.
If you are experiencing increased anxiety, if you need anything at all, if you'd just like to talk, please don't hesitate to be in touch. We have walked through this time together over the last five months, and we will continue to do so. There is a whole community, now gathered online, ready to support you. And for as long as this is our safest option, we will continue to create new ways for you to connect, learn, grow, and pray. Keep an eye out for a chance to tell us more about how we can help in the next week or so.
And in the meantime, consider the light that shines in the darkness. Hold on to the promise that our God, and the life God has stored up for you, cannot be conquered by anything - not even darkness or death. And remember that you are the sparks, lighting up the darkness around you. You, who shine with the light of God, you are the light God gives to this world. And in all the ways that you show love, in all the ways you serve, in all the ways you keep others safe: you are shining the light of Christ. And because you are the light, because you are precious, our God promises to hear you when you pray. So, I commend to you again the prayer at the bottom of this post, a prayer we've said in our worship many times over these last five months. And I encourage you to pray for your families, your neighbors, and this nation of ours that is suffering. A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome it.
God bless you. God keep you. God loves you. And so do I.
Gracious and loving God, our only help in time of need: We humbly ask you to behold your people, to relieve and comfort those around the world who are suffering from coronavirus. Look upon them with the eyes of your mercy, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, preserve them from the temptations of the enemy, and give them peace in their affliction. In your good time, restore them to health, and enable them to lead the rest of their lives in favor and to your glory; and grant that they and we may dwell with you in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tags: Welcome from the Rector