30 Apr Pastor’s Paragraph for May 2, 2021
MAY 2, 2021
Late last summer, we took our three-year-old grandson on a camping trip to the Poconos. It was good to get away, especially during the COVID-locked-down-months of social distancing. We enjoyed playing games outside, going to a zoo and a lake, playing in the sand, going for walks, and trying to keep up with our grandson on his training bike. (think — out of breath!) We built campfires and made banana S’mores, our new favorite treat! One morning, we watched in shock and awe as a black bear made his way through the campsites, eventually checking out our fire pit and picnic table! Thankfully, we were inside our RV and had heeded the warnings about not leaving food out.
The day we decided to go to Bushkill Falls, we ran into a traffic jam. We thought there must be an accident or roadwork that would eventually clear up. Moving inches at a time, we finally turned a bend and realized this was the line to get into the parking lot for Bushkill Falls! By now, we’d waited for almost an hour — but it was in sight, and we weren’t turning back. Agonizingly, we made our way through the parking lot, only to be told by an attendant that there was a two-hour waiting line, and the falls closed in an hour! Disappointingly, we inched our way back out to the highway only to pass miles and miles of cars waiting to turn in. I wanted to hold up a sign or yell out the window, “Turn Back!”
In the height of COVID, with no idea how long it’d take to get to the other side or to return to some sense of normal or a new normal, I wondered if this was what it’d be like when we could eventually return to in-person worship. Would we have long lines of people waiting to get into the Camp Hill UMC parking lot? After all, we’re all longing to be gathered together as the body of Christ in worship. I wondered would we be like the return of the exiles from Babylonian captivity in Psalm 126: “When the Lord brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouth was filled with laughter…our tongue with shouts of joy!”
Well, as you know, the COVID light switch didn’t just turn off. We’ve been more on a dimmer switch of sorts with a slow return to in-person worship. And rightly so. Keeping each other safe is one way we love one another. God is seeking to deliver us out of this pandemic and calls us to do our part. We wear masks, keep distanced, and get vaccinated – not only for ourselves and our families but to protect others. We are turning the bend, the goal is in sight, even if it takes longer than expected, and there is room for everyone. Our God is faithful! Hope is in bloom!
Rev. Sharon Miller
Pastor of Homebound Ministry