When I was a child, I remember learning an activity I could do with my hands that illustrated the church, you may have done it as well. The activity went like this; with fingers intertwined palm side in, pointer fingers on each hand raised to create a steeple, thumbs serving as church doors, you would say, “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.” Do you remember this?
Well, “open the doors and see all the people” is not true right now, or is it? Maybe it has to do with our understanding of church…
Easter Sunday 2020 worship was in my family room, on the couch, with coffee in hand. While staring out the window at the snow, I commented to my spouse Cheryl, “I have always been in church on Easter, this is the first time in my life that I have not”. The reality stirred up some covid -19 grief and sadness but it also stirred up a truth, Church has never been a building it has always been a community gathered.
We gather differently now during our stay at home social distancing, but we are still church and there is a need for what God and the church can offer unlike anything we have seen since World War II. Remembering that church is not a building stirred in me a spirit of resolve to be church while honoring safe public health practices. People matter and the people of Nativity care about people. So this is what we are doing.
First, Nativity staff and volunteers will strive to contact all households connected with Nativity. The goal: to let every household know we care, by checking in by email, phone or text, asking how things are going, asking if there are things Nativity can help with, we will have information about resources and we will ask what prayers might be needed.
Second, the people of Nativity are generous. Nativity has and continues to receive financial gifts to help with our financial downturn. Thank you. I also know that many of you watching are anxiously awaiting the first stimulus checks $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, $500 per child in the household, I also know that some of you may not need the money or only a portion of it.
I have decided that I will donate my stimulus check to Nativity, to be used to care for people. Would you consider doing the same?
Finally, Nativity staff are using this time of staying at home to find new and creative ways to be church. Church is not building, it’s a community of people helping each other to grow spiritually and to be God’s transforming love in the world.