Weekly Devotions for 8/17

Written by Karen Widin

11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[a] that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles – Romans 1:11-13

With the technology of ZOOM we have been able to continue many of our church activities. We have been able to hold and participate in worship, attend many meetings, the Congregation Council and Ministries continued to flourish. Each of these events important and they took place with only a few changes.

I still felt there was still something missing for me. Pastor Peggy, our interim pastor, unexpectedly shared a hard time she was having missing her family and other “normal” tasks that could not be done due to COVID. She shared these feelings at a Council meeting back in April of 2020. I too had been feeling sad but could not put my finger on why. Here is a brief exert from an email I sent her after that Council meeting.

Dear Peggy,

I want to thank you for sharing what you are going through with being separated from your family during this COVID-19 crisis. I appreciated what you said because I am going through many similar feelings. I was feeling guilty with my sad emotions. I kept reminding myself of all that I have to be happy about. So far everyone in my family is healthy. We have food in our pantry and toilet paper in our bathrooms (smile). When the weather is nice, I can sit on the front porch and read. But…still… I kept having these sad, depressing feelings. The person I would have worked this out with would have been my mom. And I am not someone who gets a lot of peace from talking to those who had passed away. So, hearing that you too are going through a tough emotional time helped me know I am not alone.

I was missing the casual interactions and conversations that took place after; after what? After church, after Adult Forum, before and after meetings. Coming from a business background I was accustomed to NOT veering far from agendas. People are busy. The point of most meetings I attended was to come together, accomplish a goal and in some cases sign off as soon as possible.

But that is not the life I led pre-COVID. I wanted to create an opportunity to just be together. No agenda, no goals. Out of that desire, I proposed the concept of “Tea & Talk”. I described it as a group that could meet to just talk. Who would come? Anyone? To the glory of God people came. Sometimes with as few as two and as many as ten, each Thursday morning a group of women from Saint Matthew have gotten together via Zoom. What started as a tentative group gathering has evolved into a close group of between 6-8 women. We never know what topics the time together will cover. We have shared poignant moments, prayed, laughed, and caught up on life stories we have shared over the months.

I truly look with joyful anticipation for our Thursday mornings together. Usually, I must call an end to our time together as we are often still going strong after an hour. Better to leave us wanting more time together, right? I have come to love these women. I care for them and pray for them in their life and faith journey. I would never have gotten to know them so deeply without this unusual detour in our lives. Certainly, I would speak to each of them at one time or another. A polite greeting or smile. Perhaps a sharing of the peace. However, I honestly cannot see myself ever having developed the relationships we have now.

I thank God for bringing these wonderful, smart, strong, vulnerable, and gracious women into my life. I hold each one close to my heart. And pray that they know the love, strength, and peace of Jesus Christ.