Waiting…(September 2021 Newsletter Article)

By Rick Summy, Senior Pastor

Well, here we are.

Just a couple of months ago we were worshiping without masks, feeling pretty good, anticipating that our gatherings would crescendo into a fall that would look and feel more or less “normal.”

What a difference a variant can make!

It’s sad and scary, frustrating and infuriating, debilitating and depressing. It’s enough to make you want to cry out loud or to howl at the moon, or both.

Even so, we are still worshiping in person (masked so long as transmission in Dakota County is substantial or high) and via livestream. GodZone, Zone 45, and Confirmation will start on time but without pizza and snacks (sigh). Our musical groups are rehearsing in safe and distanced ways. Bible studies and other programs will continue to take place, either masked and in person or on Zoom (sometimes both). We are continuing to plan for celebrations of our 10/20/40 anniversaries—10 years for the pipe organ, 20 years of partnership in Tanzania, 40 years as a congregation.

We will do what we need to do to care for one another and our neighbors by responding to recommended public health protocols.

We will pray for all those affected by the ongoing pandemic and hope for a swift peak and hasty dissipation of the Delta variant. And we will also pray for all in particularly perilous parts of the world — Afghanistan, Haiti, and Louisiana.

In the meantime, let’s remember that when ancient Israel was languishing in exile, cut off from Temple and homeland, wondering what had become of their God, the prophet Isaiah gave voice to God’s very presence and promise. Unlike human beings, God does not grow faint or weary, Isaiah prophesied. And “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall walk and not faint.”

God knows our fear, frustration, and weariness — and abides with us in all of it. The Lord is accompanying us in these desperate times and along this difficult way. The holy one is not far off, disconnected and undisturbed, but is right here among us wherever love, grace, and mercy show up.

God promises us that our trust will not be in vain.

And so we wait. Not in sitting-still, twiddling-our-thumbs, idly-hoping-something-good-might-happen passiveness; but with an active trust, an engaged faith, and an expectant hope in the God who is trustworthy everywhere, all the time, whatever the circumstances.