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For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
~Ephesians 2:10

Take a deep breath, and repeat after me. Okay?
In and out:

‘I am beautiful – inside and out. I am glorious at my core. I have been created and created well. I can love me and love all.’

Did it work? I think one of the hardest things we can do is inward reflection of ourselves.
Unfortunately, these past five months have left plenty of room for introspection because, well, most of us non-essential workers been given the time to do so. Some parts of the Lockdown have indeed been beautiful, such as the clearing of air pollution and water being some of them. Other parts have been nightmarish, as with the climbing death rate and historic job loss in the United States alone. It is here that we Lutherans can embrace the cosmic nature of paradox, light and dark, good and evil, saint and sinner. In the time that we’ve been away from our beloved building, our Church has found new and innovative ways to worship, fellowship, and live in this, God’s Kingdom. In that time, I have been reflecting upon my Ordination and Installation promises to the Church, particularly this affirmation: “Do you believe that your call to this Congregation is a part of God’s call in your life? I do, and I ask God to help me.”
July marks the beginning of Phase 3 here in Virginia. COVID-19 is still at large, and there is neither a vaccination nor cure. God’s love endures forever. All three of these statements is true, so how are we, the Church, called to respond?
If there is anything that I as a Novice Pastor have taken away from these five months of Lockdown and separation, it is the fact that God’s Mission finds a way. I am especially proud of our Worship Leaders, who have risen to the occasion via Virtual Worship. It had been amazing to reflect upon the genesis of our attempts from March 15th service to Pentecost. We, the Council and Taskforce, have even discerned the possibility of Live Streaming our Worship Services. Our shared Worship with St. Mark’s in Yorktown will serve as a litmus test to determine if this should be our next step. There are other possibilities that we as a community can explore, including but not limited to, returning to our building. For example, we can worship on our lawn, or at the beach in open air, as advisories have stated is a much safer practice than sitting in a Sanctuary for a hour. I am curious to know what you all are thinking and willing to try in these next couple of months. Just remember that we are all called to care for ourselves and each other, and God is always making us new.

‘I am beautiful – inside and out. I am glorious at my core. I have been created and created well. I can love me and love all.’

See, I have made all things new; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
~Isaiah 43:19
~Mantra from Sacred Space COVID-19
‘Isolation’ Retreat by Brendan McManus SJ and Jim Deeds

In God’s Abiding Love,
Pastor Jeniffer Tillman, M.D.