My family has an almost daily practice of sharing highs and lows around the dinner table. Sometimes, it’s more just a rote thing that we do, the benefit being more in the consistency of doing it than in the deep reflections shared. LOL.
But, then there are those times when something surprising arises.
This past Tuesday night, I surprised even myself when I didn’t share that my day’s joy was good health. These days, good health is an increasing and ongoing joy. Surrounded by startling statistics of the spread and death rate of COVID-19 around the world and locally both, my joy often is good health. It is a joy. Now and evermore.
However, the other night, my articulated joy was something different. I’ve been working on the plans for our summer day camp. As with many summer events, we aren’t sure what, if, how or when camp will happen. There are so many, many more questions than answers. There is so much to sift through, to think over, to read, learn, consider and communicate.
- Will we be able to hold camp?
- If so, how? Will we do some portions virtually?
- What will group sizes be?
- How might we manage lunch?
- What is the best sanitizer and where do we get it?
- What can we possibly do for recreation??
- Jeez … the questions never end!
However, in sorting through the bog of questions, it came to me that I needn’t try to answer them all on my own. I had already assembled a strong staff and volunteer team before the pandemic reared its ugly head. So, my next step was to have the hard conversation with each of these good folks about whether they wished to continue on staff this summer — given all the unknowns of camp.
And? Each one of our camp staff confirmed their participation. But, their confirmations went much further than that. Each of them wants to do the hard work of helping to make camp happen. In whatever way or ways that we can.
I heard things like:
- “We just have to have camp. Our campers love it so much, and we ALL need this.”
- “I am thrilled to hear that you want to continue with camp. I would definitely still be interested!”
- “Whatever we need to do, I’m in!”
- “Well, I can tell you right now whatever you decide? I’m 100% on board with. I think the kids deserve a great summer now more than ever and I want to help make that happen (:”
I felt hope in listening to the passion of our camp staff and volunteers to make Groundlings Camp happen. And this hope? these messages? reminded me of why God gave us the gift of church and why gathering is so intrinsic to the Christian tradition.
We gather hope from one another. We gain insight and wisdom; we offer and receive, grace from one another. What we cannot do alone? we can often do with the help of others.
These conversations and replies and “we can do this!” spirit kept coming through via texts throughout the day. As I thought about these replies, I started to understand a different portrait of church in these times … one that is ancient and new … spoken of in the Book of Acts (conveniently enough just read this past Sunday in our lectionary cycle!)
46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:46-47
While we cannot meet together in person, we can still be and still are … God’s church. The hope we have in the new day, the resurrection — this hope remains very much intact, and very much alive.
So my joy around the dinner table that evening was “the hope I received in text messages all day about Groundlings Camp this summer!”
The Holy Spirit coming through in those messages continue to give me hope this day.
Blessings and peace to you,