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"They Gathered"

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25-26

Dear Friends,

Over the years, your Session has annually enacted a policy that allows simple business, “routine motions” to be conducted via e-mail. Setting dates for regular events, responding to last-minute requests that come up in the course of a month but don’t fall neatly into the schedule of monthly meetings. It’s been especially helpful during this season of Covid, where we haven’t always been able to meet in person.

But there are limits to e-mail.

One such item, just couldn’t be conducted over e-mail. And so, last night, I had the task of gathering together with our Session to discuss and act on it.

Three things struck me about our meeting.

First was the simple difference in the feeling in the room, versus the feeling when you’re reading words off a page or watching faces across a screen. It felt different to be in the room. You can more easily read body language and mood, express yourself and have empathy and compassion for someone whose opinion you don’t necessarily agree with.

Second was the tremendous value in being able to share, openly, and realize that you’re not alone! You’re not the only one who feels this way or that, you’re not the only one who is anxious or frustrated or tired of this whole thing! In fact, I shared with the Session that I’m 100% confident that everyone, no matter which “side” of any issue they sit on, everyone is frustrated and tired of the current situation we’re living in. No one is happy right now.

Third, and most importantly, I was struck by the way, after we shared and heard from each other, the way we were able to rally around some decisions and set the stage for some future decisions together. I felt the Holy Spirit, alive and at work in our midst, binding us together to move forward following God!

These things just don’t happen, as easily, or in the same manner, without being, physically, together.

It’s important to note that our gathering was completely following the policies and procedures we had set up - in the Fellowship Hall on a designated (2nd or 3rd) Tuesday night, physically distanced throughout the room, wearing masks, with a couple elders “zooming” in via video conference. But what I saw was a group of faithful followers of Jesus, leaders, who remain willing to do whatever it takes, to help lead this community of faith forward.

We can gather. We can take precautions. But we can gather, and we should gather. No, we shouldn’t gather by the thousands or even by the hundreds. No, we shouldn’t gather without precautions and without thought or care for our most vulnerable. But we should and we can, gather.

Gathering means different things to different people. God looked at Adam and declared it wasn’t good for him to be alone, so God created Eve as a partner. They gathered.

Maybe your gathering is one person. Maybe your gathering is a dozen. Maybe it’s more… However you gather, if you take precautions, if you care for each other, I do believe you will find a tremendous value - Jesus himself said, where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

I’m excited to affirm, as we’ve gathered, Jesus has indeed been with us!

Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,

Pastor Don

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