Fr. Reynold writing here. I hope that everyone who is reading this is doing well. However, I know that some of you reading this are in fact not doing quite so well. Truly, I’m so sorry about that. See, in a parish like ours we run the gamut of human experience. Some folks are healthy; some are battling illness. Some are blissful; while others are struggling with grief. Some are worry-free; some others are fearfully anxious. Some of you are full of faith and some of you are having trouble believing. Some are feeling safe and secure; others aren’t sure what tomorrow will bring or if tomorrow will even come. Some are peaceful; others are full of rage. Some are engaged; while others are bored silly. Some are just numb; while some of you are feeling all the emotions mentioned above at once. Basically what I’m getting at, is that anyone reading this email at any given point can be anyplace in their state of life, their state of emotion, their state of faith, and their state of grace.
And it’s kinda of funny…maybe if you’re like me when I’m at my strongest and especially when I’m at my weakest, I feel my individuality profoundly. When I’m feeling strong, I can have a singular personal pride. Then when I’m weak, I can often feel utterly alone. We’ve all experienced such a range of mind, spirit and emotions. We all know what it is to feel our individuality. What we tend not to remember when we’re strong or weak or even just “bleh” is this paradox: there is solidarity in being individuals. There is community in our aloneness because we all experience singular pride and utter loneliness. I would hypothesize that solidarity is more important to us as creatures than individuality. In a primeval metaphor, “we are a pack of lone wolves”. I would go so far to say that this solidarity forms a community which is brought together by a need for salvation. That community is the Church. The solidarity of all that is human, in grace or disgrace, is redeemed by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This solidarity is given a mission through the Holy Spirit. And in solidarity we reflect the love of God the Father – by worshiping, by giving thanks, by living, moving and being together throughout all the ages.I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff over the last few days. It started with my friend Pastor Craig from the Nazarene Church in Guymon, Oklahoma. He wrote on his blog…
“Often the Christian life is approached as if it is an individual pursuit. There is very little thought given as to how the body of believers might enhance one’s spiritual well-being… It’s as if the average Christian believer has concluded: The Church should not be too close, but never out of reach just in case we need to make a request.”
Now from a Pastor’s point of view, or a theologian’s point of view, or a Christian’s point of view these four lines could give birth to volumes of books. So let me simply say this – everybody needs to see paradox in the human experience, especially in the Christian embrace of humanity. We are individuals who need relationships, living in a solidarity of strengths and weaknesses; being together in a communion of faith, hope and love. We should give a lot of thought about how our participation in the Church shapes, forms and molds us in the image of Christ. The Church should always be in reach and the Church should always be reaching out for us and for all humanity.So please join me in praying for each other, for our parish and for our Church. Think about these concepts and as we begin to think about being Church in a slightly different day of mid-pandemic, let’s seek the best way to be Church. Let me know what y’all think. As we’re able to return to Church in one way or another in the coming weeks and months, let’s figure out even more how we are to be the Church in both solidarity and community.
Grace and peace to all y’all!