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A Pastoral Letter | July 31

Dear friends in Christ,

On the wall by our front door is a key rack that has been repurposed to hang masks. 

This week I saw my primary care provider for an annual check-up and had to work very hard to show that I was healthy enough to see the doctor.

My nurse-daughter watched our streamed service last Sunday and called me to coach me on proper glove/mask protocol.

Barb and I have not had any of you in our home for Sunday lunch since February 23.

Such things are unprecedented and show no signs of going away. 

Megan McArdle is a columnist who writes on financial and economic issues for the Washington Post. She wrote recently that in addressing the realities we are facing, we are far past searching for the ideal solutions. We have to learn to be content with adequate. I think there is wisdom in that. 

We meet for worship wearing masks, with a smaller worship team, a somewhat circumscribed service, and no children’s ministries. It’s not ideal. But it is adequate.

We stream those services. Sometimes the streaming glitches. Sometimes the WiFi kicks out. And watching worship hardly feels like participating in worship. It is in no way ideal. But, for now, it is adequate. 

I’m discovering I have few, if any, occasions where I can speak to my entire flock, which is a strange and difficult place for a shepherd to be. The reality has left me feeling a bit fragmented and anxious. But for this, at least, there is precedent. I understand now in a way I never have before why Paul the apostle, who felt intensely “. . . the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches,” (2 Corinthians 11:28) wrote to them. Far better to be with them, but being absent, he wrote. It was not ideal, but it was adequate. And in that case, what was adequate has left a rich blessing for us who are able, two-thousand years later, to read the words he otherwise would have spoken.

And so I’ve decided to begin writing to you again. I cannot promise these letters will come weekly (I will, for example, be gone next week). Nor will they ever be mistaken for having apostolic importance or quality. But it is one way of staying connected. It is not ideal. I am learning to be okay with adequate. 

And the adequate can have unforeseen blessings. When I stop complaining long enough to consider the full measure of the new reality, I find unimagined benefits in what I thought was merely adequate. Join me in this discovery of the hand of God’s blessing in the midst of the adequate.

In Christ,

Copyright © 2020 Covenant Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.

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