Kindred in Christ,
This past week, I got the chance to meet up with a young woman over coffee that I had originally met a week before at our first Printmaking Pop-up outreach event. Along with talking about ideas for future art events, she shared with me how the pandemic has affected her life. At one point she told me, “I find myself so much more aware of how my actions affect others; how my small choices can infect or protect my community.”
While I certainly do not believe that God causes bad things to happen, I do believe that God will faithfully lead and form us through even the worst circumstances, always moving us toward greater love of neighbor, love of self, and love of God. With all the disappointment, grief, and loss during this continued time of pandemic, and with the uncertainties we are now facing in light of the emergence of the Delta variant, my continued prayer is that this experience will force our attention outward to the suffering of the most vulnerable among us. Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness. Love always adapts to the needs of those around us. And adapting is something that after a year of pandemic we have gotten pretty good at! While I am uncertain of when it will be safe to meet fully in person, I have come to discover a spiritual foundation that casts out fear through the divine call of loving our neighbors. May you be blessed by giving and receiving this love through the many ways we gather as a church, and the many ways you show up to the community around you.
Rev. Paul Ortiz