Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Photo: © iStock.com / McIninch (image #15556985)For some of us Easter will feel especially joyful this year as we see the light at the end of our long COVID tunnel. Many in our community have received vaccinations and are able to begin spending time with vaccinated friends and family members.

As our moderator Will Fuller has mentioned elsewhere, the Phasing Forward team met last month and identified some criteria for returning to in-person worship. One of those criteria was a fully vaccinated pastor -- I am delighted to report that I have an April 9th appointment for my first dose! My husband has received his first dose. Our sons, both of whom will be home for at least a few weeks this summer, are fully vaccinated. The four of us have been texting feverishly about how wonderful it will be to be all together for the first time in 18 months. As your pastor, I have been thinking joyfully about how wonderful it will be for our church family to be together, in person, to worship, study, serve and rejoice!

At the same time, there are indications in the news of a fourth wave of disease as people let their guard down prematurely in the general rush to get back to “normal life.” And we know that we will have to take it slow as we move forward. Not every one of us will be able to receive the vaccine – some are too young, others may have health conditions that prevent it. We will have to be patient and tender with one another as we live in the already there, almost there, but not quite yet.

This seems to me to be an echo of our faith story.

In this season of Easter, we celebrate the central claim of our faith: that a man so filled with the Spirit of God that it overflowed, was murdered by the state as a threat to their use of power. That this same man rose from the dead in defiance of the powers that sought to destroy him. That this risen Christ lives still and offers us a doorway to Great Mystery.

At the same time, we still live in this world, in all its exquisite beauty and inexplicable brutality. We live in the already here, almost here, but not yet of God’s realm of peace and justice. It requires us to be patient and tender with ourselves and one another. In this in-between time, we both rejoice and grieve together, trusting that the God of life is with us in all of life.

Blessings to all of us living here in the already, almost, but not quite yet of Easter faith.