The past few years of us dealing with the COVID pandemic has created a much bigger
disturbance in my life that I originally thought that it did. So many aspects of my life had their own
unique rhythms and now I’m discovering they are all out of sync. Certain things in my world once brought me dependable comfort because I could depend on them. Now it seems the loss of them can be a source of great distress. This was made abundantly clear to me during my own recent bout with COVID.

Like so many of you I have taken all the shots. After two and a half years, I was confident I had
been spared the worst. This turned out not to be the case. The deadly respiratory virus found me and
punished me with a vengeance. I woke up on a Saturday morning and instantly knew something was
very wrong. My body was aching. I had a low grade fever. My head was congested and I felt as if I had
been run over by a truck. So, I took an at home test and watched it quickly turn positive.

For the first time in my priesthood, I missed two consecutive Sundays because I was sick. Then
the virus spread from me to my wife. Next it went to our daughter. We were officially living in a
quarantine zone. For a week we didn’t leave the house or go anywhere. Life was turned upside down.
I finally saw firsthand what so many millions of others knew about COVID. It has been a slow recovery
process to get back to whatever is the new normal in life.

Churches across the country have learned how to overcome the COVID disruption and find a
rhythm once again. Social gatherings that were cancelled are starting to return. There was no
in-person worship for over a year. Now people are coming back to church along with those who found
us online. Gone were the first Sunday morning breakfasts with mountains of bacon. Bingo and other
outreach offerings were postponed. We had to discontinue the nursery on Sunday mornings. All these
things are returning in September.

Here we are almost three years into a post COVID world, and we are having to find new ways to
live together. Some of us now work from home. Students understand that the wearing of masks might
come back in a moment’s notice. We are just starting to come out of forced isolation.

A new rhythm in our common life is emerging. We have let go of some traditions that no longer
have meaning nor relevance in our lives. We can once again embrace those things we have missed and
now we want them back. As our BCP reminds us, “Life has changed, not ended.” COVID is not going
away anytime soon. So be it.

We the Church will focus on what the new 21st Century Church can and will be. We will learn to
adapt and overcome any and all obstacles, some that we couldn’t even imagine before. We accept that a
church in 2023 and beyond will need to have a regular online presence. New opportunities to witness
the mission of the church, like the Blessings Box outside our parish offices will now become part of us.
We will double down and reinvest in human relationships because our hearts are heavy over the loss of
over 1.3 million souls as a result of this pandemic.

Pre or post pandemic, the basic mission of the Church remains the same. “Love the Lord your
God will all your hearts, all your minds, and all your strength.” The second part is like unto it. “You will
love your neighbor as yourself.” So, let’s get busy and rediscover what that new rhythm is.
Peace, Mark+