I remember saying these words to my children, then young, as they headed out the door: “Make safe choices!” They always laughed. Hmm, should that have worried me? Now I feel the urge to say the same to you. “Make safe choices!” I want you to stay home, stay safe, and when you do venture out, to keep your distance from others. Because you matter so very much to all of us at St. James Church, and because you are a beloved child of God.
Making safe choices must feel especially challenging for you non-stop doers out there. I know this halt to all you love to do feels utterly bizarre. Maybe you wonder, “What good am when I’m not doing, not helping others?”
Years ago, I had a parishioner named Grace, in her nineties, living in a nursing home. And somehow one Christmas she got the idea to phone every single man, woman and child in the parish, and to give each one of us a word of encouragement. And she did. Call after call: “Hello, Hank? This is Grace. How are you getting along? Listen Hank, I just called to say thank you. You are a good and kind man and I am happy to be your friend.” That kind of call, again and again, tailored for each person. And, oh! For weeks afterwards all of us just walked around glowing. We felt anointed that Grace singled us out for special praise and her own brand of love. She fed us with this love.
97 year old Grace lifted up an entire congregation, and you hold power too. You hold the power to share the love of God with others through simple words of encouragement and kindness. Through phone calls, texts, emails, zoom calls, and good old-fashioned cards and letters. I ask you to share your love.
And because I want you to keep sharing your wonderful self for many years to come, I will consider it a tremendous gift for you to stay healthy and well. And pray for our brothers and sisters in health care and other essential roles. They need our constant prayer.
Also, please know that I welcome hearing from you, hearing your ideas, concerns, worries, stories, prayer requests, things for which you are grateful, news…my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I check it a lot, so know how welcome you are to reach out.
May the peace of God that passes all understanding fill your heart and mind with the knowledge and love of God and God’s son Jesus Christ. Friends, make safe choices, reach out in love to others, and know that you are loved!