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A Season for Ploughing, a Season for Planting, a Season of Harvest

Our house is strange this week because it is the time of graduation, and things are not normal. As we have made phone calls and Zoom meetings and online coffee hours, many people have noted that we are all ready for this time to be over and for a new time to begin.

The epitome of this is that this week our middle child graduates from high school. We are having a ceremony for her small class with families seated far apart and masked. Our dinner table has been filled with expectation and jokes about what kind of masks we should wear. Her little brother suggests either storm troopers or Darth Vader on a nightly basis.

A time ends and another begins. Many of us are feeling senior fever and apprehension in equal measure as we look forward to this quarantine ending and a new phase beginning.  Each person’s mix of eagerness to move on and fear is unique and tempered with factors that may not always be obvious.

Our bishop and diocesan task force have issued a guidance document for our local discernment. And the diocese has a great page of resources here. [https://www.azdiocese.org/coronavirus.html]. These resources give clear markers that we must follow in order to reopen.

The world around us is beginning to open up again, especially after this week’s decisions from our governor. There is a debate about whether it is too fast or not fast enough, and there are those who call from either end of the street that this is folly because of the realities of the virus or that there is no reality to this virus. The conspiracy theorists and gossips are rushing to the back fences of the internet to let us all know what we should think.

Here is what Paul reminds the Christians in 1 Thessalonians 4

4 Rejoice in the Lordb always; I say again, rejoice. 5 Let your good sense be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything; but in every prayer and petition make your requests known to God with thanksgiving, 7 and the peace of God which is beyond all understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 8 For the rest, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is righteous, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is laudable, if there is any virtue, any praise, let these be your thoughts. 9 What you learnt and received and heard and saw in me, that you should do, and the God of peace will be with you.

This should be a guard against the extremes. There are real reasons for the economy to get moving again, and there are real fears about people going back to normal life without safeguards.

As your church leadership, myself, a select committee, and your vestry consider these issues in light of the guidance we have, we will seek God’s grace and guidance as well. Pray for us.

There is a season for ploughing, for planting, and for harvest for different fields and different crops. We must be wise about the time, as Jesus reminds his followers in the Gospels.

Christ Church began a season of ploughing under and tilling in my first few years, and now we are entering a season of planting.

I am asking you to enter a season of study and planting with us this summer. No matter what the world does, we can plant together through media as a body. I am going to ask you to do a study and join a small group of friends to study together, by phone, FaceTime, Zoom, whatever best fits you.

Our church is rich. We have resources like soil that has been prepared, but we are in need of planting to see the harvest. Summer is a good time to plant the Word of God in our hearts, as many are doing in reading the Bible this year. Others have joined or reconnected with small groups from choir to Daughters of the King to Men’s Group.

But I am going to ask each adult to pick up one thread this Summer. You will get an email from me this coming week with information about Revive. Please don’t ignore it. This is our season.

ACTION ITEMS:

1. Let the office know if you have a graduate in your house, or if you know of one so that we can recognize them Sunday.

2. Pray for our leadership as we discern the path forward for CCA reopening when the time comes.

3. Commit to planting the Word of God with us this summer.

The Very Reverend Daniel P. Richards