God’s love is our constant

Judy Hoard reflects upon the pandemic, and how each of us can see God's love in every season.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38-39.

To this verse, I would add “neither a pandemic” can separate us from the love of God. This is a verse I carry with me as a reminder that nothing can separate me from the love of Jesus. I need this reminder, as I have a fear of heights and flying, but I also think it applies to the cloud we have lived under since March 13, 2020.

I know we are all eager to move on in our lives now that we’ve been vaccinated, but I thought it would be helpful to spend a few minutes thinking about where we’ve been the last 16 months, and where and to whom we’ve turned, to help us fill the days and nights. Speaking for myself, staying positive and busy has been essential in dealing with the surreal time we’ve all experienced.

I can remember shopping at Woodman’s before masks were determined to be helpful. Folks were coming out with grocery carts full of toilet paper and other paper products. Shortages on the shelves became common place. At home, we didn’t have much of a stockpile of paper products, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Slowly we built up our inventory. I remember what a sense of security this gave me. You may have felt the same way. Having access to these items was something I’d always taken for granted. If the supply got low, a quick trip to Woodman’s was all that was needed.

My partner, Beth and I played games like cribbage and double solitaire. I’ve never been a good card player, but I’ve gotten better at playing and shuffling. We watched all the seasons of 7th Heaven and other favorite shows from the past. I’ve re-read all the Jan Karon books. This is a series about an Episcopal priest and his wife Cynthia, located in the idyllic community of Mitford, North Carolina. If you like action, these are not the books for you, but, if you like to read about the lives of good and faithful people, I would recommend the Mitford book series.

We became adept at making, freezing and eating casseroles, making omelets before Sunday morning online worship services, baking cinnamon rolls AND taking lots of walks in our neighborhood, even during cold winter days after work. It was amazing to see people pouring out of their homes after a day of work to get some fresh air and walk a pet!

Wednesday night and Sunday morning worship services helped to ground us in our faith from week to week. The inspiring messages and wonderful music were the highlight of each week. Thanks to everyone who served and continues to serve during worship services!

Being able to spend time with our families and friends – outdoors and usually masked before the vaccines were available – became more special. We had no idea when we would see each other again, so these visits were extra meaningful.

Working from home took some adapting to but brought a sense of security. Coming into the church office twice a week from 7 to 8:20 helped me to stay connected to the building, so I could water plants, check on the postage meter machine and do other work I couldn’t do from home. It also allowed me to stay connected with Rick Thomas, as he was the only other person working in the office at that time. What a joy it was to talk on the phone with members before the office was open and in-person services resumed.

As I’ve been sharing with you, I hope you’ve been reliving some of your own pandemic experiences. It has been a time in our history that I’m prayerful is coming to an end as more people get vaccinated.

I don’t think any of us will ever be the same. Those things I used to take for granted, I no longer will. I’m hopeful our memories of what we lived through will remain with us for the rest of our lives, along with an attitude of gratitude knowing that the one constant in our lives is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s Pray – Good and gracious God, we give you thanks for walking with us all the days of our lives – before, during and after the pandemic. Thank you for the gifts each person in our congregation has given to each other, our family and friends, church members and our community. May we take hope in knowing that nothing can separate us from your love AND that this is the day that you have made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

In your good and great name, we pray Amen.