How are you holding up? That’s the question I’m hearing and asking most often in recent days—from family members, neighbors, friends, and even a stranger or two. It is also the question on my heart as I write to you, the Second Church family, this afternoon. One of the most important tasks ahead of us is to stay connected during this time apart, and your church will be continuing to offer a myriad of opportunities for connection and care. You are all in my heart and on my mind daily.
Later this evening, you will receive an update on our plans regarding the worship and programmatic life of the congregation. For now, I want to share an experience that has returned to my mind often this week. My junior year of college, I had the opportunity (thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment) to be part of a weekly vocational discernment group with other students considering ministry and a mentor, Rev. Ted Purcell, a retired Baptist minister. Ted was a wise pastor who gently shepherded our group. One week, we were discussing prayer. Ted offered this testimony: “I used to think that monks and nuns took the easy way out by joining intentional religious communities and separating themselves from the world. But now, fifty years later, I am absolutely convinced that those prayers hold the world together.”
So many are asking what we can do right now. One friend joked that he hadn’t planned on giving up quite this much for Lent. Indeed.
Here’s a simple suggestion for a powerful practice. Pray. Let us know how to pray for you. The church at prayer is the church in action. Prayer holds us up and holds us together. Prayer allows us to get beyond our individual fears and puts us in touch with the needs of the world. And, prayer opens us to the presence of God, our source of hope.
Let us hold each other, and all of God’s beloved world, in prayer this day.