“And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:5a)
This is going to sound overly dramatic … but I’m going to share it anyway. Because it is true … for me, at least.
The past two Sundays at St. Peter’s have brought tears to my eyes. I won’t ask you to try and guess the moment, I’ll just tell you. It was something we do all the time … or did all the time … before the pandemic changed our world … reciting the Lord’s Prayer with others … IN PERSON. I pray the Lord’s Prayer with different gatherings of church members a lot … committee meetings, My Wednesday Bible Study Class, live stream worship, Sunday School and Confirmation classes … lots of opportunities to pray. But each of these settings have not been able to create the experience of a few dozen voices lifting up those familiar words together as the Body of Christ … in unison. Since almost all of my group gatherings were via Zoom, which creates a Tower of Babel cacophony of everyone speaking at different paces and none of the words matching up together, I found the experience as discouraging as it was bonding. Nothing to be done about it … I recognized the blessing of just being connected. And with livestream, we have no ability to hear any of the words that you speak or sing in your home … another disorienting experience.
But the past two Sundays, I have had the chance to be in live worship with church members, either in our sanctuary, or on the grass of our “green acres” west of our parking lot. And in those settings, when we prayed the Lord’s Prayer, the potency of our unison recital of this 2000-year-old prayer struck me anew … and struck me powerfully. It was almost as if I was hearing the Prayer for the first time. I will admit that this past Sunday brought tears to my eyes, because Pastor Sarah was leading worship, and I was simply in the pews worshiping with those who had gathered … and in the privacy of my pew, my tears we okay, and not a distraction to other worshipers.
So, for a closing devotional thought to this schmaltzy personal reflection, I would hope that you too, can find moments of surprising grace as we start to crawl out of our pandemic culture. I pray that you will experience anew some “simple pleasures” that have not been an active part of your life the past year, but have now returned to you. And I would invite you to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to a God who “makes all things new” in God’s time, and in ways that can still surprise us with grace.