by Pastor Mark Erson
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Upon opening my eyes and while still lying in bed on the morning of Monday, March 16, my mind started to race. Isolating and Social distancing were becoming new words in our vocabulary. Restrictions were just beginning to unfold. And with that unfolding, lots of questions began to join that racing of my mind. How far would they go in changing our daily lives? How long would they be in place? This is Lent, Holy Week/Easter are nearing, will this all be done so that we can celebrate “normally”?
Obviously, I was not alone in my questions. Perhaps, different sections of the country asked them on different days. But we are definitely in this together. We are all discerning and exploring how to be church, the body of Christ, at a time when the body of Christ cannot physically come together in worship, study, mutual support, consolation, and of course, those all-important meetings.
One of the needs that I saw in myself, and assumed for others, was a sense of structure to these days of upheaval that laid ahead. Also, I anticipated a need to keep kindling the hope that is ours in God’s abiding presence. So, I decided to start live streaming morning (9 AM) and evening (4:30 PM) prayer, Monday – Saturday. I have engaged a variety of resources to give a little diversity. It has certainly helped me to start and finish my day in this way. And, from the comments of others, I see that it has been welcomed by others way beyond the members of our parish. It has also reconnected me with folks from various chapters in life. As one who struggled to enjoy online courses at seminary, I have been surprised how connected I feel when I see folks attending the live stream. And then of course, there are many who view as they have time.
Something else that has been very heartening, comforting, and inspiring has been the collaboration that has been going on among colleagues. And, no surprise, it is within our beloved Proclaim cohort that I have seen the most, the best, the most creative, and supportive expressions of collaboration in creating and sharing resources and spiritual support. I am so thankful for this community.
One of my favorite Easter symbols is the butterfly. This year, even while we are celebrating our butterfly-ness through the risen Christ, we also have the opportunity to benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of our cocoon days. I pray that we will hold onto the lessons learned, the collaboration bridges built, the new means of connecting engaged, for the sake of proclaiming the gospel and serving the world as the body of Christ.
Blessings, as you make the most of these cocoon days.
Mark Erson – (he/him/his) serves St. John’s Lutheran Church in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY, as pastor. He is also a theatre artist and award-winning playwright. He is most excited and looking forward to working with Reed Noel on their internship in the coming year.