This week was week two of school for Haverford school district and the first week for Lower Merion. It’s been quite a week for my family as we’re learning all over again how to do online school. It won’t take long before my kids, members of a generation who are dubbed “digital natives,” know their way around Zoom and other applications far better than I do. It’s an understatement and a cliché to mention that this is a difficult time for families trying to juggle jobs, school, childcare, and mountains of uncertainty. And the difficulty of one demographic does not minimize or discount the hardship of others. I don’t know anyone who isn’t struggling in some way.
As a community of Jesus-followers, Holy Apostles has a lot to offer during this time of adversity. One of the things it is able to offer is something in short supply these days, grace. Grace is the freedom from shame, competition, and inauthenticity that can only come from knowing that you are truly loved no matter what. It is related to the realization that your worth as a human being does not depend on your efficiency, your ability to achieve goals, your online teaching skills, your bank account, your house, your car, your children’s college admissions, or any other metric society uses to categorize and measure. Grace cuts through all of that like butter.
All grace originates in God and God’s invincible, unflappable love for us. Through our connection to God–our worship, our prayer, our generosity, our fellowship–we have access to an unlimited supply here at Holy Apostles. Grace means no matter who you are, or what you’ve been up to you are welcome to join us, either for online worship or in-person worship this weekend. We have two services: our normal 10AM service (livestreamed), and a new, bi-monthly outdoor service geared toward families at 4:30PM (off-line but with ice cream).
Grace also means that you are loved and valued even if you can’t make it to church this weekend. Grace means God won’t give up you no matter what. If you can’t make it to church (online or in person), my advice is, don’t stay away for too long. Find some way that you can engage and stay connected with this grace-filled community. There are plenty of barriers at this time. It isn’t safe for everyone to gather like normal. It can be hard to engage online. But, please find some reminder of grace, even if it’s just a phone call with a church friend and a quick prayer. Know that Holy Apostles is here for you.
The grace and love and peace that is found in worshipping God together is something I am convinced we all need. Humans are made for worship. If we’re not going to worship God, we will surely find something to worship. It’s just that our other religions—careers, possessions, pleasures of all kinds—do not leave any room for grace at all.