Perhaps, like me, you are reeling from the updated guidelines from the CDC -- recommending that everyone once again wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Perhaps, like me, you are feeling a mixture of disappointment, frustration, sadness and worry as COVID cases here in Larimer County and across the country rise once again. I was just getting used to seeing your beautiful smiles and giving everyone hugs, and I worry what the national rise in COVID cases means for our lives individually and collectively going forward.
The truth is, of course, that none of us knows what it will mean. We don't know what the autumn, next week or even tomorrow will hold. We do know that whatever happens, whatever comes, God is with us. We know that God's love for us is greater than we can possibly imagine.
In Sunday's scripture reading from 1 John 4, we hear that love is from God(verse 7) -- not just God's love for us, but all love comes from God. And we hear that God is love (verse 8). If love is from God and indeed God IS love, then we can take courage in these once-again-uncertain days, knowing that love will not fail us. Knowing that even when loving ourselves or each other feels hard, we need not deplete our own reservoirs of love but can instead draw on divine love that is ever-present and always available.
I know for me it is hard to love well when I feel tired or frustrated. It is hard for us to act in loving, life-giving ways when we so desperately want this pandemic to be over or at the very least ending. In this time of shifting and uncertainty, we need to draw upon the rivers of love whose source is not our own. Loving God with our whole heart means opening our hearts to be filled with God's love and then turning around and sharing that love.
No, we don't know what will happen in the coming days and weeks, but we are resilient. As individuals. As a congregation (as our 120-year history attests!). As a community and as a nation. We will weather whatever comes. And, with God's help, we can weather it with generosity, hope, and most of all love.
I want to give a shout-out to our Re-entry Team who have taken swift action to help our congregation align our practices once more with CDC guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible. Starting Sunday, we'll be using masks again. Be sure to read the Re-entry team's update below. For now, we can still sing and gather for conversation downstairs following worship. While you may not be happy with this shift, I hope we can all understand that keeping ourselves and each other safe is about love -- loving each other and ourselves as best we can. Let us also hope, pray and act for a decrease in COVID cases going forward.
I'm grateful for each of you and for the love and resilience of this congregation as we walk with God beside us,