Dear sisters and brothers,
I have shared with some of you that after the various Hurricanes hit, some of my colleagues in places around the Gulf and the Atlantic Coast, not only had to think about recovery for their churches and congregation members and communities, but they had to begin to rethink how to be the church and a faithful community when one of the things we most associated with being the church was gone: their building. My colleagues are brilliant, of course, and began to get creative with how to do this kind of community building. Some of them found places to gather with those who could get there that were nontraditional, others offered opportunities for their members to provide meals and assistance to those left without homes and to emergency assistant providers, while others made good use of what so much of the world is already engaged with, social media.
One of my friends in Texas who is an Episcopal priest, started doing what the church has done since ancient times, and offering her community and whoever else wanted to participate, various opportunities throughout the day and night to engage in prayer. In the ancient church this was called the Daily Office, and it is still practiced currently by many of our Roman and Orthodox friends. Protestants for the most part of have tended to stray from this kind of praying (morning, midday, evening, and night) even though our hymnal offers these services, reserving this kind of prayer for special times of the church year, like Lent.
At any rate, even though nothing was standing in my way of participating with our faith community on a weekly basis, I began to watch her daily. Sometimes live, sometimes hours after she had offered these prayers services when I had a moment to sit down and breath. I loved how I could use each of her Facebook videos for my own personal devotion time each day and know as well that I was praying with a community that extended far beyond the four walls of our church. In fact, I was so moved by watching her, I decided to try it out too, for you and for whoever else may be looking for an opportunity in their week to connect or reconnect with God and each other.
So the past few weeks, somehow it has worked out to be Thursday, I have been going live with you on the POP Facebook page and offering prayer, scripture reading, and a brief reflection. It has been a life-giving experience for me and I hope it has for you as well. I am hoping to continue doing this as part of my own practice as your pastor and that you will take it up as part of your devotional practice during the week.
I know not everyone uses Facebook, so I will do my best to try to figure out other ways going forward to connect with all of you as community in a nontraditional way so as to encourage these kinds of moments of being the church that extend beyond what we do in this place on Sunday. As always, I open to having conversation with all of you about ways to do this well. But if you are on Facebook, check it out, offer feedback, and take a moment to breath during your week and remember whose and who you are.
Faithfull yours, Pastor Rebecca