By Melody Walcott
We have lived through a time that amazes, frustrates and sometimes scares us all – a pandemic that spread from one side of the world to another, that tested our survival, our medical skill and our spiritual stamina. COVID-19 was unlike anything most of us have lived through before. It brought different words and graphics to our everyday thinking: pandemic, respirators, tiers, vaccination, COVID long term symptoms, stimulus checks. And the ever-present masks.
To compound and exacerbate our worries, we met a throwback to a time of confrontation and divisiveness – both political and racial. We mourned the passing of young Black men and women from confrontations with police and realized that our country has not overcome its troubled racial history. We bickered about how to meet at one table to solve our problems.
We had to learn patience and a small mountain of compassion. We had to be creative in communication and just how to manage a visit with our family. We had to figure out ways to school our children. We had to care for our loved ones after COVID and endure the pain of their loss. We had to figure out how to honor them in death.
We saw ourselves at our best and at our worse.
At St. James, we had to learn how to reach out to and respond to God’s presence and His desire for us. After we figured out how to worship, we had to determine how to move forward. Obedience reached a new standard when we stopped at each other’s homes to offer communion, food – a prayer. We reached out to God and that inevitably brought us back to each other. We re-learned the great second commandment – love your neighbor as yourself.
The examples of caring – for our first responders, for our neighbors, for people we did not even know – were moments created by God. Over the past year, we have grumbled, whined, asserted ourselves but given of ourselves. We have become God’s disciples and lived the Gospel, following Jesus’ commandment that the Gospel be delivered “to the ends of the earth” and that we “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19-20). We have lived our lives like those initial Christians of that first multicultural church described in Acts, giving and caring for one another. Acts 2:4 -12, 16-21. As a church, we are striving toward God’s intention that we “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, as God in Christ forgave [us]” (Eph. 4:32).
What happens now? St. James and Our Lady found each other all over again, via a circuitous route that can only be God’s intention. How do we live out God’s intention? We continue to live in God’s will, walking in the light and becoming one community. We are children of the light (Eph. 5:8). We follow the road to God’s intended purpose: to his new home for us, but most importantly, to His likeness, so that we see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). We live our new church lives as a community – the human community, culturally diverse and living in God’s love.
If we do these simple things, we follow Him.
Sunday Worship Location
Join us for Sunday worship at 1:30pm at Campus Bible Church. We welcome you in person or on livestream.
222 East Fountain Way
Fresno, CA 93704