It is well with my soul. I am saying that over and over again in my head and heart.
As I read and re-read Governor Gavin Newsom’s “six goals that must be met to lift California coronavirus order,” in the morning’s LA Times, I found myself breathing deeply. Again and again. I was encouraged by the the reporting that “[the state’s] strategy to slow the spread of the virus is working, pointing to relatively low growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations as evidence that staying home and social distancing are preventing a surge of infections.” But as I kept reading, I found my own suspicions that our “new normal” path is needing to become a prolonged trek of all of us. What we were forced to throw into place as emergency defense needs to grow into an ongoing strategy for offense against the novel Coronavirus.
Whoa. Yep. Long haul with significant and prolonged change lies ahead.
As I read and breathed, as I took in and began to process what seem to be the inevitable steps ahead, this hymn bubbled up from I know not where. It just sort of came up and through me, and I started to hum it to myself …
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
As I hummed to myself, certain images also bubbled up:
Images of the Los Altos UM church gathering tonight in a variety of Brady-Bunch style discipleship small groups over Zoom. Patterned after our Everyone’s Inn small groups (and prior to that … our Wesleyan heritage), age-based and stage of life and reading groups alike will convene and God will do God’s work amongst the church.
Images of the Los Altos UM expanded church who will gather tomorrow night joining in the practice of yoga poses as a discipline of body prayer via FB live from our sanctuary.
Images of the Los Altos UM in Sunday worship dialogue with Pastor Mark.
Images of our Los Altos UMchildren responding to the children’s Sunday YouTube message and writing their cards and notes to our homebound.
And how all of these spaces are offering places of discipleship, points of relational connection and formation and enhancement. These spaces have been convened and led by both laity and clergy, and it is this work, these gatherings, this church that offers me great hope in this time.
I wonder what other spaces and people and images and relationships are yet to bubble forth?
You see, even as our civic life has shifted and will continue to emerge, I have no doubt that Jesus is at work amongst and through us.
And while there is deep uncertainty and many questions in my head, it is well with my soul.