Dear St. Lukers,
“…mere Christianity is a way of life, challenges us always to remember that there are no ordinary people and that it is immortals whom we joke with, marry, snub and exploit – It is what Christ asked of us in taking on our humanity, sanctifying our flesh and asking us in turn to reveal God to one another” – C.S. Lewis
During WWII, C.S. Lewis was asked by the BBC to give a series of radio addresses to a war torn, suffering people, most of whom had lost their faith and believed as they watched the tragedy and crisis of war ravage their land, there was no God. Lewis, who had been an atheist and moved through a long journey back to Christianity, was asked as a lay person to not just give hope to listeners, but to lead people through a logical, reasoned explanation for the Divine. Later, after such success with the first address, he made two other addresses and later put them together in the book we now know as Mere Christianity.
Above is one of my favorite quotes. No person is ordinary. As we move into a stay at home mandate in Orange County, this reminder from Lewis is at the forefront of my heart. Staying at home and flattening the curve of this virus in our beautiful community means living intentionally into this belief. It calls us to live as one, reflecting God’s love to one another, seeing each as beloved, extraordinary, and precious and having compassion to do everything we can to stop this virus. It’s the gift we offer one another, trusting that as we do, we are protecting the health of not just those in our neighborhoods, schools and church, but stopping the virus from moving well beyond us.
This belief that no person is ordinary, but beloved by God, makes demands on us as followers of Christ. It calls each of us to lean into the love of each other and trust and lean into God’s love as our source. We are working to stay connected as community, and to speak, as C.S. Lewis did, our faith and hope into the world who is listening and watching. As people of God, as people of St. Luke’s, we call out to God, where our protection comes from, the source of our strength and hope. We place our hope in God, and allow God’s great redemptive power to continue to work through us to find ways to be hope, love, and grace come to life among us during this time. You are showing up for our community in powerful ways, helping people not just hear a reasoned case for the Divine, but allowing people to see God come to life in the ways you are serving, giving, sharing and caring. Who knows what chapters we are adding to this lifestyle of Mere Christianity being lived out in new and tangible ways for the world to see hope alive.
Sunday we will worship together at 9:30 a.m. with less than five of us on campus, (religious services are considered essential at this time of the county mandate) with another combination of live and prerecorded worship. This week is unique – as we will be sharing newly recorded moments of worship from this week. We want to celebrate you our congregation, and the belief that worship and holy space is right there in your homes, where the Holy Spirit is alive and well.
Many of you will be seen singing, reading Scripture and liturgy and helping us pass the peace. Bishop Carter had been scheduled to preach with us for months, and has sent us some words based on Jesus’ great commandment from Matthew 2: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Join us for worship on Facebook LIVE Sundays at 9:30 a.m. or visit st.lukes.org/onlineworship if you don’t have a Facebook account and need help connecting. This Sunday will be a special service celebrating the community of St. Luke’s and honoring how God is worshipping with us wherever we are gathered. And if you miss it at 9:30 a.m., the service video will be available as soon as the service concludes.
Grace and Peace to each of you extraordinary, immortal saints. We love you and are praying for you all to stay safe, healthy, and well within God’s care.