About the image: Christ in Judgment, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=47457 [retrieved November 1, 2020]. Original source: http://www.yorckproject.de. Used by permission.

Suspension of Indoor Gatherings

Beginning today, the Bishop suspended all “indoor gatherings,” obviously including all services. The suspension lasts at least through December 20, the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Any extension of the suspension most probably includes all Christmas services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Under the order, services last Sunday, November 15, were optional, and I decided to conduct our service that day in order to tell the people in person of the suspension in addition to an electronic announcement sent soon after the publication of the order. I also told the people that during the suspension, I would be praying for them and for the parish daily at Morning and Evening Prayer. Now I extend that promise to include all subscribers and visitors to this website.

The readings in the Daily Office have reminded me of Judas Maccabeus who fully understood that all power grounds in God when he said, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven” (I Maccabees 3:18-19).

We may feel powerless to worship in the way that we would prefer, but if we are indeed powerless in this way, Heaven may be distributing power through other agents for heavenly purposes. Given the will to worship and to serve, we shall similarly be given the opportunities to do both. Judas’ zeal he directed to keep the covenant and to restore the sanctuary. And similarly our zeal we may direct to keep the baptismal covenant and to restore our worship to our accustomed forms.