From the Pastor
Bearing One Another’s Burdens
(Galatians 6:2a; Philippians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Many years ago, when I traveled to Europe for the first time (before Juli and I were married), I heard and read about all kinds of horrible things happening to unwary foreigners there. “Gypsies will chloroform you on the train and steal everything you own,” was but one of the warnings I heard. To my surprise and delight, however, the people I met along the way were gracious and hospitable. It seemed odd and awkward to drop in on distant relatives in Germany or work acquaintances my father knew in Ireland whom I had never met. So, after seeing the sites in Western Europe with some high school friends, I decided to venture out on my own to visit the places that interested me. Travelling solo meant getting to know the locals in foreign cities as well as travelers from other places. More than once, I would even run into the very same people at local hostels where I stayed. Having gotten to know one such person this way, I was invited to stay over at his home in England once I was headed back to America. Thanking the members of his family for their hospitality as I left, they kindly replied, “It’s no trouble at all. We are all here to look out for one another, aren’t we?” It was an unforgettable end to the trip of a lifetime.
St. Paul speaks to the “why we’re here” calling of Christians who are in community with one another throughout life’s journey. It’s an appropriate topic for a time of year that we move from our Easter focus on the resurrected Son of God to the Pentecost theme of the Spirit this resurrected Son of God bestows. More than once Paul encourages those who received his letters to rest in Easter joy and to lean on the working of the Holy Spirit as they look out for each other: to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and to “build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11). The pandemic has given us an opportunity to put some structure in place to do just that. People come from all over Wake County (and even points beyond) to worship and serve at RLC. For some, who have been unable to worship in person recently, it might be hard to feel like a part of things. We are working to see that every member of Resurrection, no matter where he or she might live, is a part of a geographic zone where someone who does not live far away is able to check in. This “checking in” is to see what prayer needs there could be, whether folks are able to connect remotely to our worship services, and what —if anything— we can do to “bear… burdens.” Thanks to those of you who have offered to serve as community facilitators in this way, we now have 18 zones established of roughly 12 households each. I would like to ensure that by the end of the year all RLC members will be covered. This effort is not intended to supplant small groups already established at RLC. Nor is it a reflection of an understanding that people of similar interests or membership in a particular demographic (e.g., young families, single adults, the newly married, etc.) should not gather together. The goal in opening doorways of communication with folks in our neighborhoods intentionally and systematically is to discern where God might be leading us to welcome newcomers into the ministry of building community: people who may not be a part of a church group or area of ministry at RLC. Please keep this activity in your prayers as we seek to stay connected to one another and build one another up.
Of course, as time goes on, more and more will be happening at 100 West Lochmere Drive in Cary! “When are things going to start looking a little more ‘normal’?” I have been asked that question a lot in the last few weeks! And that’s as it should be. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives over the last year. We are all anxious to get back a little bit of what is familiar. For the month of May, assuming no dramatic updates or changes in CDC directives, we will continue to maintain social distance between different households and masks for those gathering for our regularly scheduled services and group activities indoors. However, thanks to some relaxation of guidelines from CDC recently regarding the spread of COVID on surfaces, we will be communing around the altar with traditional distribution in the main sanctuary and start to slowly get back into what I expect will be a welcome routine for many. Beginning the weekend of May 29-30, we will make worship available in three services on Sunday morning: 8, 9:30, and 11 AM. Assuming the level of interest in all three services continues, this schedule will be maintained throughout the summer. Then, in September, Sunday School for all ages will be added into this “mix.”
I look forward to working together with all of you both to build up —and be built up— in the midst of these ever-changing times!
Pastor Jonathan Blanke