FORGING OUR FUTURE
A Letter from Pastor Andy
July 7, 2021
Dear U Park Family,
I live in fear of forgetting a wedding. I haven’t done it (yet), but even now, 33 years after performing my first one, the possibility leads me to extreme measures. I write the wedding time down in my calendar as soon as it’s scheduled. I schedule the time to arrive, usually an hour earlier. I Google the directions so that I can schedule my departure time. I calendar reminders in the weeks before, to keep the event firmly in mind. I check in periodically with the bride and groom to make sure plans haven’t changed. I have a checklist of all the things I need to bring, so that I don’t forget something and have to go back for it (Robe, Stole, Ceremony, backup copy of Ceremony on phone, duct tape…). I know that these preparations at least border on neurotic (OK, maybe they’re well within that border). But I still wake up some mornings mildly apprehensive, remembering an upcoming wedding but unclear exactly when it is. And at least so far, these preparations and the state of perpetual low-grade anxiety that drives them have prevented me from being the guy who ruined the Big Day.
I’d like to say that my concern is driven by a desire to make the day as good as possible for the couple getting married. Mostly, it is. Weddings tend to get out of hand, and something often goes sideways at the last minute. I want to do all I can to make things as worry-free as possible. But if I’m honest, I have to admit that I’m also partly anxious about making big public mistakes. Maybe most of us have that concern (No? Just me? OK then…). And to some degree, all of us have made them. They create embarrassing moments, and how we deal with them can reveal a lot about us, even if only to ourselves.
This Sunday, we’ll continue our “Lessons Learned” series of sermons on what the pandemic has to teach us. Over the past 14 months, we’ve seen many people be publicly wrong about everything from the seriousness of the outbreaks to vaccine efficacy to economic effects and preventive measures. So we’ll be reading a story from Mark’s Gospel about the gruesome consequences of an appalling public mistake made by King Herod. I’ll be preaching about what Mark’s Gospel may tell us about how to respond when we’re wrong, or even how to determine when we might be wrong in a confusing and fast-paced world. I hope you’ll join us for our Sanctuary worship at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday, or for our Zoom worship at 11:15 A.M. that morning. The worship video will be uploaded to our YouTube channel by Sunday afternoon for you to watch later if you’d like.
I’ve had several people ask about masking during worship, and when we might stop it. I’m investigating that this week. I know that people are going without masks in stores and restaurants now, but I’ve hesitated to stop using them in worship because some of us can’t be vaccinated or will find vaccinations less effective than normal due to medical conditions. Of course, we want children to be part of our worship, and those under 12 can’t be vaccinated yet. These issues combined with the surge in Delta variant cases make me cautious. I’m doing some reading about safety – especially when it comes to parts of worship like singing hymns. Last Sunday, we removed the signs that blocked every other pew. We’ll dispense with masks as soon as possible. In the meantime, thanks for your support for the church and for your patience.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer, and I look forward to seeing you in person as soon as possible!
Grace and Peace,