On Wednesday morning of last week, I was waiting in line to enter the Winchester Hospital Family Medical Center in Wilmington, right down the street from where we live. I was there for routine lab work a few days after having my annual physical. It was 7:25 am, and the doors weren’t open yet. There were purple circles outside the building, spaced 6 feet apart, to help keep us from crowding the door, and to help keep us safe. There were about a dozen people in line already when I arrived. Everyone was wearing a mask. It was orderly, organized, and eerily quiet.
The door opened at 7:30, and there were more purple circles in the ample indoor space. And more waiting. My brain thought a few times, surely some of these circles are closer than 6 feet apart! On closer inspection, I’m sure they were just fine.
I shared with you all last December that I have trouble waiting, sometimes it makes me uncomfortable and anxious. And at the time, I also shared that my faith tells me God is with us on our journey, we have to notice. I could have used my own advice as I pondered purple circle spacings, experiencing unfocused anxiety in a medical center during the pandemic, wearing a mask, and waiting to have my blood drawn.
So much has changed in our world since December; it does seem so very long ago. New sources of discomfort and anxiety have surfaced as we move forward together through this pandemic. Are we noticing God through this journey? Psalm 27 tells us: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Comforting words, indeed.
In re-reading that article from December this week, I wrote that we were entering the 9th month of preparing for a new rector. Now, in August 2020, we are in our 18th month of preparing for a new rector. Our rector search committee tells us we are entering into our final phase of the search! Our potential rector finalists will be visiting Epiphany over the next few weeks, and we plan to make the call for our next rector in October. Ideally, our next rector will join us at the start of the new year. Talk about noticing God through the journey. Surely our search committee’s work is a blessing and a gift to us all. The Holy Spirit continues to be at work through this discernment process. I am grateful. I am grateful to God for the search committee and for all of you who are waiting alongside me. Our parish is stronger because of our waiting together. And, hallelujah, God already knows the outcome.
Gracious God, we ask your direction and guidance for those who shall recommend to us our new spiritual leader, that we may receive an upright and faithful rector who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries. May they help us ask anew what it means to be the Church in our time, our place. And may we all welcome according to your Spirit the one you are sending to us to lead us into the new days ahead. Amen.