“Surely the LORD your God has blessed you in all your undertakings;
he knows your going through this great wilderness.
These forty years the LORD your God has been with you;
you have lacked nothing.”
– Deuteronomy 2.7
“Early in the morning,
Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites,
and they came to the Jordan.
They camped there before crossing over.”
– Judges 3.1
Does it feel to you as if we’ve been wandering the in the wilderness for forty years? There are days when it seems as if it’s been that long since we’ve worshiped together in person. I have missed seeing you in the pews and in the Fellowship Hall…missed deeply the hugs and smiles and words of kindness and encouragement.
Even without being together physically, there is a force that has helped us maintain our bonds across these 15 months of pandemic isolation. A few weeks ago, Jane Anne preached on the text from John’s gospel in which Jesus tells us to love one another as he first loved us. My sense is that God’s love is the force that has held us together as a congregation during our pandemic pilgrimage. And as we love one another with that same love, we build community.
But now, we are approaching a different stage in that journey. Like Joshua leading the Israelites out of the wilderness, we are camped along the banks of the River Jordan, and we are about to cross over into a new land. I know some of us are ready to cross the Jordan today with no waiting on the bank! Others of us are nervous about what it might look like on the other side…that things will be different…that we may not know how to relate to one another exactly as we did.
Let’s wade through the water together…get our feet wet together…and make it across into the next stage of our Plymouth pilgrimage as we arrive home. Come on back! Wade in!
Some of the Israelites got really tired of the taste of manna, and I know some of us are really tired of recorded services on Sunday. (Manna and broadcast services have been life-sustaining, if not fully pleasing our palates.) So, join us for our Outdoor Service at Rolland Moore Park on June 6 at 10:00. (There is only one service that day…bring a blanket or lawn chair.) Come on back! Wade in!
With the new guidance from the CDC last week, our Pandemic Team (which meets again next week) will likely be able to liberalize our opening even further. Stay tuned! Our Leadership Council last week approved the installation of a new livestreaming system in our sanctuary that will enable us to stream services with worshipers in the pews! That will make Sunday morning hybrid (in-person + livestream) worship possible, once it’s installed early this summer! Come on back! Wade in!
In the meantime, if you are fully vaccinated, please plan to join us this Sunday evening at 6:00 in the Plymouth sanctuary as we have our first in-person service since March 8, 2020. You do need to sign up in advance…just go to plymouthucc.org/worship. Come on back! Wade in!
See you at church or in the park soon!
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.