What do Noah, Naamah, Moses and Zipporah have in common?
They all made it to the far side of raging waters.
Are we making it to the far side, too?
Yes, thank God.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Early on in the pandemic I was being more cautious than clever when I reminded us that it took Noah one year, one month and twenty-seven days to get to dry land beyond the storm. It has been longer for us, though with fewer barnyard odors. But it has been a long, stinky journey.
As they left the ark God said, “Go forth from the ark… bring forth with you every living thing.” And then they worshipped. When Miriam and Moses got through the parted waters of the sea it says that Miriam sang and danced, praising God, “then Moses led Israel onward.”
These are good models. Get up and out. Bring forth life. Worship God. Move onward.
They are almost guidelines for us at NHCC. But first, a word of memory and grief:
Not all of us live in Newton but here in this city there have been almost 13,000 cases of Covid and 199 deaths in two years. Many of our members have been ill, and many of our memorials have been modified, delayed, or suspended. I grieve that. And I won’t forget it. And neither will God. I believe that. And this faith just now is what moves us to the future.
For now, finally, after two years away from the Great Hall for Good Friday and two years away from the sanctuary for Easter we intend to be back together—those of us who are willing. We will extinguish candles to remember the time of Jesus’ betrayal Good Friday, and we will sing with trumpet and organ to proclaim “He is risen indeed!” on Easter. Some of us will even gather at sunrise by Crystal Lake following scripture guiding us “while it was yet dark.”
But here on the other side of the stink and the storm we are changed. It is always this way with God: Every journey changes us and for the better. So while we rejoice in our repeated traditions, our world needs something new from us, too—God calls us to something new.
This pandemic exposed inequities and injustice and God cares about how we address that.
These years brought new awareness of how to care for each other with food and housing and tending creation and God cares about that.
These seasons have endured war, refugee crises, and the power of evil, and this is our work on the far side, the dry land of the present and the future.
Get up. Bring forth life. Worship. Move forward.
During these two years a core group of leaders at NHCC have carried extra weight, and carried it wonderfully. I thank them. And if you have read this far, if you long to address injustice, if you yearn for moving worship and love of our neighbors then we need you — you — really you, to join a project, support a mission, give sacrificially, sing and dance like Miriam, because here on the dry land we thank those who got us across the waters and now need everyone (you) to lend a heart and hand yet again. Really.
As you well know, some things went wrong for Noah and Miriam and others back at once-upon-a-time. Dry land doesn’t solve everything. But community can. We can together, with God.
So come for Tenebrae on Good Friday, come to the lake at Easter Sunrise, and come worship the God who remembers, loves and dreams—the God who says, go onward. Come find the one who vanquishes death, and has a list of ideas to bring forth every living thing. A list for us.
God’s peace to you,