GIVE ME A WORD
This past Tuesday I met via video conference with many of the clergy of our diocese. As their faces appeared on the screen before me, I realized how much more meaningful it is to see someone’s face in conversation rather than simply read words. Thus I am sending you this video to let you know a few things that are going on in the midst of this storm in which we find ourselves.
On Tuesday, when I saw my colleagues faces, I also saw the stress and strain of this moment. I saw a few looks of confusion. But on every face, I saw faith and hope. Like Jesus, your clergy have set their faces to Jerusalem…and I am confident that they are doing all they can to hold you together, respond to your pastoral needs, and adapt their ministry in this unprecedented time. Please pray for them. Please help them by trying your best to keep your pledges current. Theirs is a vocation solely dependent on your faith in God and your church and how your faith is expressed in your giving.
They are working hard and your diocesan staff is working hard too. We meet each day via video link. We are exploring ways to financially shore up our smaller congregations like offering online giving that will go directly to your congregations. We are constantly updating our website with resources for your use during this time including ways to stay connected with online worship, reflections and prayer. To that end, I will begin next week to offer a weekly Bible study and reflection. It will be entitled Give Me a Word.
I was walking down the hallway of the Hampton Inn in Troy a few weeks ago. It was Sunday morning, so I was decked out in my “clergy uniform.” I was on my way to St. Mark’s for a visitation. I met a man in the hallway. As we passed, we exchanged a casual greeting and then he said, “Hey pastor, give me a word.” I had previously heard of such a custom in other denominations, so I blurted out, “You are blessed.” And he shouted back, “And God’s favored one.”
Give me a word. I have replayed that moment in my mind several times in the recent days. I have even prayed it. “Give me a word.” I will only speak for myself, but I could use a word or two, maybe you can too. I could use a word that might quiet the words I am hearing and reading in the news. I just need a word or two to remember what is most important and whose I am.
To that end, at least until we are back in church on Sundays, each week I will be offering a few words of reflection and Bible study. Think of this resource as an impromptu Good Book Bible Study. I won’t focus on reading a specific book in the Bible, rather we will explore a few passages and stories that might carry us in the days ahead. I will post the scripture lessons to read on Monday. The video study will be available on Thursday. [Available by email, website, and Facebook]
And while you are at it, join in the practice. As you go about your days, give people a word. Text them; email them; Facetime them; call them. Let them know whose they are. Give them a word of support and hope. Let them know that they are God’s favored one. It matters.