Being together and apart

Thursday, April 2, 2020
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Pastor Robert Leaverton Courtesy photo

By Pastor Robert Leaverton Columbus Community Congregational Church

First off, thank you to all for following our governmental and health authorities’ prescriptions for social distancing, to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Here is some of the sermon that was streamed online recently, courtesy of the Facebook page of Columbus Community Congregational United Church of Christ.

It is good to stay connected in these trying time, even though we cannot be together in person. Believe me when I say, I would much rather see and be with you all face to face.

But because of the coronavirus, we are taking the precaution of keeping limited gatherings of people in order to prevent the spreading of this virus. An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound or cure. It is my hope and prayer you all stay safe and remain free of acquiring this virus. One day we will again be all together worshiping God as a congregation in churches, as a community.

Our Gospel lesson for this fourth Sunday of Lent is about seeing. How do we see God, where do we see God? When we see, something is revealed, encountered and experienced. Jesus is revealed to the man born blind.

What was revealed to him - Jesus: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The man born blind acknowledges Jesus as prophet and healer, the Holy One of God, the Messiah. Jesus reveals himself to him and he sees. How and where is Jesus revealed to us in our lives today?

The current self-isolation is just the first step of a long journey we are undertaking. This is a new reality for us. We long for the world before this virus became manifest among us.

Our Old Testament lesson for today comes from First Samuel, chapter 16. God has rejected Saul and calls on Samuel: go to Bethlehem, to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons that the Lord has selected. The key verse is the first: “How long will you grieve over Saul?” We grieve over a past life lived, a life we may not experience for some time. Ecclesiastes 3:4 addresses where we are today, with covid19: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the sun…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

God invites us into this new reality. Let the Holy Spirit guide you as we find new ways to be the Church for each other. Many churches have stepped up to the challenge, finding new ways to share, serve and care for each other. May we all ponder and act - on what it is to be our brother and sister’s keeper. Jesus is being revealed to us. Do we see Jesus among us? Do we respond to Jesus in our midst? Can we reveal Jesus to others? Definitely so! Others see Jesus because we see Jesus.

I have posted on my Facebook page a quote to carry us through these trying times. “With church doors shutting across America, it is time for us to show that the Church has never been about the building. We are the Church!”