At the present, it may be some time before I can visit my family in Pennsylvania. Even if I had the time, entry into the state is limited to those who have a negative test 72 hours before entering or are willing to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Even if I did all the requirements, I still would not be able to visit my sister and brother-in-law since he is at extreme risk due to his health conditions. (They have been isolated in their house since the pandemic began.) I still get news about my family on facebook posts. (Though my sister refuses to use the computer her daughter set up for her, I call on the phone to connect with her.) Though contact is limited, we still remain family.
In Holy Baptism, we are made members of the family of God. Gifted with the Holy Spirit, adopted as children of God and blessed as beloved with Jesus, we are God’s family. In the past, through worship, fellowship and living the faith together, our family bonds were strengthened. But in today’s world, not everyone can participate in our faith family’s activities. How many cannot come to church physically? How many cannot receive the sacrament of Holy Communion that unites us in Christ’s Holy Presence? How many are not online and cannot receive this letter? Isolated and alone, can we still be the Family of God?
We need to find ways to connect as God’s Family in these difficult times. That connection cannot be from the church office alone. We must be responsible for each other. We need to find the sheep of this flock who have been lost. If I am to be your pastor, I must know you and know what prayers I need to send to God on your behalf. We must be family to each other and find ways to make that real for all.
I pray that God through Jesus Christ will unite us through the Spirit’s power and strengthen us as the Family of God. Amen.