In our gospel reading for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, we accompany Jesus to the well at high noon where he meets a woman. Both Jesus and the “woman at the well” are there at a time when others are not likely to be there. We can guess that they are both trying to avoid the larger crowd that gather in the cool morning air. Perhaps they’re each engaged in some “social distancing.” This term which has suddenly become part of our vernacular is one that seems to be contrary to all the work we do to be community, as the body of Christ in the world, but as we are facing a pandemic, the first for many of us, we are scuttling to figure out what is the common good in a time of crisis and virus. Yesterday faith leaders from across BC met with our Premier, John Horgan and Health Minister, Adrian Dix and the Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. While it is unnerving to have a need for such a conversation, the fact that the faith leaders met and consulted and shared questions, fears, best practices and creative ideas is very encouraging. The need for social distancing in our faith communities for physical health concerns has created an opportunity for opening lines of communication and creating new relationships which can increase our spiritual health. This was part of the story from John 4. As Jesus and the woman meet at the well in the heat of the day, they each share a bit of their story and are drawn into fuller relationship with the Creator of earth and sky, wind and water and remember how intimately we are all connected to all that is. That sense of connection can be amazing but also, as we have found out watching the mapping of the Corona Virus, also terrifying. The best advice seems to be the same as applied during any flu season:
Stay home if you show or feel any symptoms of illness.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
Keep some physical distance from others.
To maintain our connections to one another prayerfully and carefully, we will continue to exchange the peace without physical contact and we will have the offering tray on the piano where you can prayerfully place it on the way to communion. At this point we don’t know if we will continue to offer wine, but we are receiving constant updates as to best practices and implementing them as we go along. We will be recording our worship and posting it later in the day for those who aren’t able to come to the morning worship service. We’re also hoping to record some meditations and prayers and studies to help us stay connected in the weeks to come. So, stay tuned – check the website and watch for updates as we, like Jesus and the woman at the well practice social distancing, trusting that even in the most difficult circumstances we can be drawn closer to one another and to God.