When something kept my brother and me from going outside, we pushed the furniture against the walls and wrestled. There were no rules for our accustomed tangles—all we knew were the professional wrestling matches we’d seen on Saturday morning TV—so things got nutty fast. We would dive from the sofa, bend each other’s arms and legs backward at menacing angles, and hold each other’s noses to the floor. We loved every minute of it, laughing and carrying on until one of us had the breath knocked out of him. (It was always me, since Paul outweighed me by 10-15 pounds and had the confident moves of a natural athlete.) My scrambling was fast but inefficient—picture Tweety Bird squaring off against Batman—so I’d try to make him laugh, if I needed some leverage. When the howling got too loud (again, usually mine), our mom would put us at either end of the house. She knew that being separated from each other was the worst punishment my brother and I could endure. I still feel that way, and you may, too.
Out of an abundance of caution, all of us have been asked to practice physical distancing from one another. Parishioners are working from home, meetings are being held online, college students have left dorm rooms and returned to Baltimore. Some of us are on lock-down, not allowed to welcome visitors except over the phone or by text. Schools are closed, with teachers and students making the best of handouts and e-chats. Teenagers are talking through windows and discovering again how great it is to hear a voice through the phone. And Bishop Sutton announced today that public services of worship are cancelled at least through May 15.
To stay connected, we are offering prayers on Facebook, live streaming services every day of the week. Our learning curve is steep! Monday morning, Freda Marie was perfect. Tuesday at noon, Cristina was broadcast sideways. Thursday at noon, yours truly switched on the video feed halfway through the prayers, sideways again, with my hand covering the microphone. Who knows how Friday will go! Note the service times below, and please tune in; if a service is meaningful to you, invite friends and neighbors who need a boost. We will offer a homily every Sunday morning.
To stay connected, we have grouped the parish into manageable portions, and recruited several dozen volunteers to reach out to each person at least once a week. You are likely to be called, texted, or emailed by someone who is new to you, so this time of physical distancing may very well create some new friendships. Please take advantage of being together in this way with another parishioner and give feedback to the clergy about how it’s going.
To stay connected, we will be sending e-Redeemer to you twice a week. The clergy will continue to offer a reflection on Thursdays, and the Monday edition will provide resources from the Center for Wellbeing and any other news we have to share. We’ll be sending prayers and articles and practices that foster healing of body, mind, and spirit.
To stay connected, we are in contact with our community partners, many of whom are particularly vulnerable at this time. Some of you have already asked about how you can help, and we will provide information as we receive it. See below for a way forward at this moment, knowing that things are changing every day.
We will be back together sometime soon, though I can’t tell you now exactly when that will be. What I do know is that when we gather as a community again, it’ll be Easter, even if it turns out to be on the 4th of July! We’ll be born again, with new ways of seeing and understanding what being connected means, new ways to know who God is even when so many have lost so much, and new ways to act and serve and love.
My brother and I used to pass notes under the door when we couldn’t be together, or we’d talk through the transom or knock out some version of Morse Code. We figured out ways to say “I’m here” and “I love you.” How can we do that for each other, now?
Morning Prayer will be offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:00 a.m.
Noon Day Prayer will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12 noon.
Evening Prayer will be offered Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.
Morning Prayer with Sermon will be offered Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
Click here to join a live stream of a Diocesan Contemplative Eucharist celebrated at the Cathedral of the Incarnation at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays.