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Open Our Lives

A year ago, people were anxious and frightened. We didn't have all the information, we didn't know for sure what was happening, or when it would happen, and certainly not when it would end.

We've had a year to settle into our lock-down existence. Zoom meetings used to be a novelty. Now we're zoomed out. We've learned how to negotiate long-distance holidays. There is still uncertainty, but hopefully, the anxiousness and fright have subsided for most people.

Except now, it seems to be returning.

It turns out we're becoming frightened and anxious again because we're starting the see the light at the end of the tunnel. Because, again, we don't know for sure what is happening, or when it will happen, or when it will all end. There's anxiety about figuring out how to reconnect with people and resume "normal" activities.

One of my group leaders has banned any conversation about vaccinations. She was sensing tension among those who had their appointments, those who couldn't get appointments, and those who wouldn't be eligible to get appointments for months.

When we can't see each other in person, it can be difficult to discern how someone is doing. A 2-inch picture on the computer screen doesn't tell much.

But it is a critical time to be aware of how others are doing.

Are they depressed? Are they nervous? Are there isolation issues? Are there health issues? When we do not see each other regularly, it can be easy to hide our problems from others.

The theme of this year's Wednesday Lenten services is Open Our Lives, Lord.

Open our lives to see what is happening with others and to share with others what is happening with us.

At a recent workshop we talked about prayer. We were asked to open our eyes to those in need around us. We were asked to pray for each other. We were asked to share how it felt to be prayed for. We were asked how it felt to pray for someone else.

We were reminded that prayer is not about flowery language; it's about having a conversation with God.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4: 4-9)

- Ann Iona Warner


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