Dear Folks,

How are you?  How do your days unfold?  Are you an essential employee still traveling to work—tending to systems, filling prescriptions, moving packages, delivering food, reading x-rays?  Thank you.  Are you working or learning from home—zooming to meetings, sharing the wi-fi, submitting budgets or problem sets or contingency plans?  Thank you.  Are you waving to neighbors through the window, home-schooling your children, tending a sick relative, or organizing an emergency phone tree?  Thank you.  Are you taking care of yourself?  Thank you for that, too.

And how do you feel?  It makes sense if you are scared or lonely or angry or sad.  Everyone of us is dealing with some kind of loss right now—of health or freedom, of income or affection—and grief is an appropriate, even necessary response.  As with any death, if we bury our emotions now, our bodies know we are only postponing the inevitable.  If you want a good cry, watch the moving video of Italians standing on their village balconies and singing in response to the coronavirus. Why not organize your own concert on the street where you live?  Kazoos are fine, or pot lids or trumpets or xylophones.  And if you need to stand in the window and just yell every now and then, that may be exactly what the doctor ordered.  Our little family is making up songs and dancing most nights before dinner.  The dogs love it!

Redeemer is bumping along pretty well.  70 volunteers are each calling/texting/emailing 15 parish families every week, and the connections being created or made stronger are heartening.  Most people report good health and spirits, adjusting to clipped wings and close quarters, adapting to new methods of reaching out.  Some folks are sick.  Some folks are anxious.  Some friends have had to postpone weddings or baptisms or funerals, and those difficult conversations have invited unexpected intimacies to lay alongside the despair.  Some of you tell me about rediscovering resilience you thought you’d lost. And we’ve not been able to connect with everyone in our database, perhaps because your contact information is incorrect or outdated.  If you haven’t heard from a Redeemer parishioner or clergy member in the last two weeks, send me an email or call my cell 443-970-1716.  I’d love to hear from you.

I am so pleased by how many people are watching our daily services, either live or later in the day.  Nearly 1000 people checked in last Sunday, and our daily services range from 250-400!  Thanks to Freda Marie, Cristina, Caroline, and Bert, we have invited a growing community to worship “at Redeemer.”  And you’ll read elsewhere in e-redeemer that community engagement continues in this new normal, as well.  Thank you!

Ahead of us is Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  Tune in this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for ways to bless the “palms” you already have in your house: the walk that Jesus made into Jerusalem 2000 years ago had people throwing coats and shirts on the ground and waving whatever branches they could find.  Take a look around you and see how you can re-enact that moment.  Tie to your mailbox or balcony or doorframe or light post something green (or a branch with buds or something with sleeves that can blow in the wind) this Sunday morning.  If your neighbors ask you about it, tell them about The Church of the Redeemer, and see how you might help each other through this time, and always.  On Maundy Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on our Facebook page we’ll have a virtual blessing over the bread and wine at your dinner table.  Join us to make palpable the commandment to love one another as God loves us.  Good Friday, we will send you “Stations of the Cross in the time of COVID-19.”  And what about Easter?!

When your trust is all but shattered, when your faith is all but killed, you can give up bitter and battered, or you can slowly start to build, a beautiful city.  Yes, we can, yes, we can! (Beautiful City)