Semper Gumby

From the Pastor

Now what? It seems we’ve passed the peak of the CoronaVirus in terms of hospitalizations and deaths in El Paso County. The conversation is now turning towards re-opening and what that might look like. I imagine it will look a lot like it did at the beginning of this crisis, only much slower. I remember that first week before we closed, and it seems a new recommendation was handed down every day. We adjusted our practices, stopped passing the peace and refrained from shaking hands. We planned to be open for GOLA and Worship as late as that Wednesday. We thought through a new way to do communion, and then new recommendations came and we made the difficult decision to close everything down.

As new recommendations come from state and church leadership, we will adapt and adjust and lean into a new reality. We can’t predict the future, so instead we will remain flexible and ready to change as needed to do ministry as our reality changes. I had a colleague who had served in the Marine Corps who was fond of the phrase “Semper Gumby” as one of the unofficial mottos of the corps. It means that you must always be as flexible as Gumby and adapt to changing circumstances. That’s not always easy for the church, a 2000-year-old institution used to doing things a certain way. But it is the way of our leader, the Holy Spirit whom Jesus compares to the wind saying, “the wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” I don’t know when we’ll gather together in the Sanctuary for worship again. I don’t know if we’ll need to limit the numbers in our Sanctuary or how we’ll celebrate and distribute Holy Communion. We may need to check temperatures at the door or require masks and hand-washing prior to entry. I don’t know right now exactly how we’ll come back or what it will look like. But I don’t need to know right now.I know that the Holy Spirit will lead us. I know that we’ll figure it out. I know that the gospel will be proclaimed, and we will be nourished by word and sacrament. I know that the church will survive and continue to follow our leader to be light to the world. I know that God will bring great things out of these terrible circumstances that will surprise and bless us and our neighbor. I know God will continue to teach us how to be church in an ever-changing world. These are the only things I need to know right now.

Thank you, church, for being faithful and being flexible. Thank you for trusting your leaders and being willing to try new things. Thank you for being filled with the Holy Spirit who holds us and keeps us on this roller coaster of life.

Semper Gumby!

-Pastor Travis

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