In the Meantime

I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. – Micah 2:12 (NIV)

When I read this promise from God to gather “the remnant of Israel,” I can’t help but hear the voices of my church folx asking, “When are we coming back to church?”

My response is often simply, “We’re going to come back together again when it’s safe to do so. I miss you, too.”

In the meantime…

Visions of “together like sheep in a pen” continue to inspire conversations of what it will be like to worship in person again, and conjure up questions such as: “Who do we want to be in these times?” and “How are we prepared to show up as the church?”

Imagining “a flock in its pasture” reminds us that we can experience deep peace and full communion as God’s beloved because it is God who gathers us, tending to our well-being.

This time of uncertainty allows a freedom of ideas, hopes and possibilities. So, while we haven’t worshiped in the sanctuary since March, the work of the church continues in the form of hot meals “to go,” free Covid testing and masks give-a-ways, help with the census, voter registration, and kind words and warm smiles. While maintaining social distancing and masks on, “the place throng[s] with people!”

God, even as the coronavirus surges, we recall your promise as shared by the prophet Micah, and we trust in you and your promise. Grant the powers that be the wisdom to handle this virus with integrity, courage, and compassion. Grant us all peace. Please and thank you. Amen.

About the Author
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.