When I arrived at Emmanuel almost seven years ago (where does the time go?) there was some initial discussion about starting a parish blog. I loved the idea and put it on our wish list. And well, here we are, nearly seven years later, ready to check that box. As you can tell, some things in parish-life happen fast, others not so fast!
It goes without saying that none of this would be possible without Joani lovingly putting the technology of this blog together. Thank you and God bless you Joani.
Drum roll please… at long last and without further ado, please welcome:
Emmanuel Voices – A Parish Blog!
I will start by saying it’s not lost on me that we are launching “Emmanuel Voices” during a pandemic.
Honestly, I never thought I would use that word except when trying to describe a sci-fi movie I’d frankly prefer not to watch. Why would someone want to watch a movie about a pandemic, much less experience one in real life? NOT ME!
Though top global scientists have been warning us for decades, I am saddened – on so many levels – that a pandemic is happening to us at this time. So, here we are experiencing things we never imagined. Things like:
unemployment levels the likes of which we have not seen in a hundred years…
wearing protective masks in public, not for ourselves, but for others…
children accessing their education online, rather than in brick & mortar schools…
not meeting for services in our church…
and the list goes on and on…
God bless those who have been severely impacted by this pandemic, including those who have died, those who have lost loved ones, those who are isolated or unable to be with loved ones, those on the front lines helping in every way they can, and those who worry about their loved ones bravely working those front lines.
For some, but not all of us, this is a very scary time. Yes, some people have shared with me that they have no fear about any of this and their life has remained pretty much the same as before the pandemic. I just wish that was the case for the millions of other people whose lives have been completely upended by all of this. Most people find themselves stressed out worrying about there being no end in sight. Additionally, others have asked me, “Where is God in all of this?” A fair question.
A while back I came across some inspiration online. I didn’t write this particular piece, but I wish I had. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to remind us of what’s contained within the following story, but a pandemic is as good a time as any to be reminded of this sacred truth: God is always ready to hear from us.
I thought I’d include this story just in case you or someone else you know might benefit from it:
God: I know. Want to talk about it?
Me: Do we need to? I mean, you already know.
God: Let’s talk about it anyway … we’ve done this before.
Me: I know, I just feel like I should be bigger or stronger or something by now.
God: (*waiting patiently, unhurried, undistracted, never annoyed.)
Me: Okay. So, I’m afraid I’ll do everything I can to protect my family and it won’t be enough. I’m afraid of someone I love dying. I’m afraid the world won’t go back to what I was used to before. I’m afraid my life is always going to feel a little bit unsettled.
God: Anything else?
Me: EVERYTHING ELSE.
God: Remember how your son woke up the other night and came running down the hall to your bedroom?
God: You were still awake, so when you heard him running, you started calling out to him before he even got to you … remember? Do you remember what you called out to him?
Me: I said, “You’re okay! You’re okay! You’re okay! I’m here.”
God: Why did you call to him? Why didn’t you just wait for him to get to your room?
Me: Because I wanted him to know that I was awake, and I heard him, and he didn’t have to be afraid until he reached the end of the dark hallway.
God: Exactly. I hear you, my child. I hear your thoughts racing like feet down the dark hallway. There’s another side to all of this. I’m there already. I’ve seen the end of it. And I want you to know right here as you walk through it all, you’re okay. I haven’t gone to sleep, and I won’t. I’m right here with you.
Me: (*crying.) Can we sit together awhile, God? Can we just sit here a minute before I go back to facing it all?
God: There’s nothing I’d love more.
Please keep me and the good people of Emmanuel in your prayers and know that you are in my prayers as well.
Please be in touch if I can be of service to you in any way.
— Chuck McCoart, May 2020
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog