|Photo by Angela Menke Ballou.|
I don’t know about you, but on the first day of Stay Home, Stay Safe I thought we would be returning to working in the Conference offices and worshiping in our sanctuaries in a week, maybe two. That was early March and we did not know what was coming. I know that the thought of doing all my work via Zoom and attending my local church via Facebook Live or YouTube was not something that I could have imagined. But it has become the reality and it has altered my understanding of this time we find ourselves in.
When I was a child and first learned of this caterpillar to a butterfly transformation, I imagined that the caterpillar just lost some weight, grew some wings and reappeared, mostly unchanged. But since then, I’ve learned that the caterpillar completely disappears, turning into a gooey mess that somehow reinvents itself into a butterfly before it emerges.
Many of us originally assumed that after a few weeks of confinement, we would all return to our sanctuaries and that church would go on, pretty much as it has for a couple of centuries. We might lose some weight and perhaps grow some wings, but remain pretty much the same as when we all entered the cocoon. But I no longer believe that. I think that this time away from buildings, when we have all been required to think about church as an expression of the Holy Spirit in our lives rather than as an ediface of stone and wood, has caused me to understand that church will never be the same. We are learning new ways to worship God. We are finding new ways to come together and support one another in love. We have created new ways to be a blessing for the communities in which we live. And we have found that we don’t actually need church buildings to live into the Gospel of Jesus Christ that would have us love God and our neighbors above all else. We are in the gooey mess stage of our confinement but soon, at least in God-time, we will emerge and I am excited to discover what emerges then.
The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix is Bridge Conference Minister. Kendrix, a 2013 graduate of Yale Divinity, earned that school’s Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise in pastoral leadership, the highest prize conferred on a graduating student ...