Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…  

“Let us not grow weary in doing what is right,
for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9

Speed was never my forte. Endurance was not my forte either. In fact, I think that I am still looking for my forte. But distance running was my greatest sports nightmare. Short sprints of 25 yards or so were not so bad. Why anyone would want to run 100 yards straight, was beyond me. And in Physical Education one year, a sadistic teacher made us all run a mile. That was not a typo. I mean a whole mile, four times around the track in one class, without a water bottle or even a snack bar. After that, I took up golf, and was freed forever from running or even sweating. Unfortunately, golf has a dark side too, mental instability. But I digress.

We thought that this pandemic was going to be a sprint. You remember, “Circle May 17th on your calendar and we worship again.” We will sprint through this pandemic, and resume life as we knew it. Our expectation was not uninformed; the CDC offered us the pandemic isolation timeline. It was going to be a dash to the finish line, but now we have come to realize that it will indeed be a marathon. No High School Football this fall, can college be far behind? Will the NFL start and finish the season? Our public and private schools, tiny Trinity Preschool, and massive universities enter the fall under a cloud of uncertainty. Every question brings another series of questions. Is it safe for children to be in school? Is it safe for teachers to be exposed to 20 students, not knowing where those 20 students and their families go after school, or what they have been exposed to? We were under the illusion that this pandemic was going to be a sprint. School and church online, (or on ZOOM for a few weeks), is one thing, but now parents, teachers, and church workers are waking up to a new reality. This pandemic is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

This marathon is especially taxing to our Senior population and to those with underlying health conditions. This virus is a real danger, and so the most vulnerable have been isolated in their homes. TLC members make grocery runs and pick up the mail, while sharing a smile and providing a vital connection to community and to the outside world. A quarantine of a few days or even weeks would have been a challenge, but now it is clear that this pandemic will be a marathon, not a sprint.

South Whidbey has been mostly spared the ravages of Covid19. Perhaps we have just been lucky. How long can our luck hold out? Perhaps God has been protecting us. That is a dangerous theological road to go down. Very few of our parishioners have been stricken with this virus, and even though much of our TLC population would be defined as the most vulnerable, we have not had a single death. Not a single death from Covid19, a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of our citizens.

I think that we have been protected. We have protected by the isolation of the island, by wide-open spaces, by not gathering, by wearing masks, by being cautious, by social distancing, and by the services of essential workers who risk all every day for us. Every fiber of our bodies long to be together, to share handshakes and hugs, to sing and cry and pray together. “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” This season of isolation, quarantine, and uncertainty is lasting longer than we had hoped. But then we have never experienced a global pandemic before. This must be a season of patience, persistence, and endurance. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon, and the very lives of those we love are hanging in the balance.

There will be a vaccine. I am sure of that. The virus that assails us, will be defeated by science. Humans, created in the image of God, will survive and thrive and dance and play and worship again. We should not lose hope, for this is only a season in our lives. This season will be followed by other, better seasons. We should not lose hope, but we must not lose our discipline either. We must care enough to stay apart. That is how we will survive this pandemic.

Stay home, stay safe, keep the faith; we are in this together.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim