Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: May 18, 2020

We announced some pretty amazing news today! Not only are we planning to reopen safely over the next two months in stages, we also are in the midst of renovating our sanctuary and adding a new restroom for the school. And, of that weren’t enough, we now own a Retreat Center, too! Yes, we now welcome The Fall Retreat Center to the Saint Miriam family! And, perhaps, with a weekly Franciscan Devotion, we should pause for a mini retreat on what I believe that we have learned lately!

I have found five important lessons learned as we have adjusted our lives as a parish family to Quarantine and anticipated Post-Quarantine planning.

First, God is with us, He always has been and will always ever be. I know we know that theoretically, but it helps to slow down to listen to it, too! Looking back, the first few weeks of quarantine felt manic and confusing. It’s been essential to remember that God is with us and we need to put our devices away and take time to “be still and know”—even when the “be still” part is hard! This is why our earnest planning has brought a sense of calm, and our virtual offerings has continued our life together! Plus, even in the midst of some loss, God has brought us such amazing gifts and opportunities! Are we willing to listen now? To care for God and the church that has proven to be a solid anchor in the winds of this pandemic?

Secondly, we have learned the importance of checking in a lot. As a parish, we’ve tried to share with you from our hearts in word and video. It’s because, as many of you have learned, we need to see and hear from those we love and trust. This is why I call my mom every day! And, judging from how often we see you sharing our posts and words of encouragement from your living rooms and porches, you’ve been doing the same thing!

Thirdly, we can do new things and worship in new ways, even if they’re hard. Like you, our strength has mostly been in being an in-person gathering organization, built around face-to-face worship and gatherings. But, we’ve had to reinvent and create new opportunities virtually and online. We’ve been reminded that we are blessed in being flexible and inventive! Now we have a whole new skill set for guiding and loving and worshipping and learning into the future! God continues to breathe in new ways and old.

Fourthly, we have been practical. I have had to learn it is ok to slow down, not to work out every day, sand some days, to simply do nothing! We have all had to learn to modify work-life, school-life, and even grocery shopping with a constantly shifting focus and changing rules! We’ve all done our best to solve the problems immediately in front of all of us. But it is also time to start thinking deeply about big-pictures issues that will come in time, and how we will allow the good parts of this time to remain. That is the BIG Fifth Lesson! You know the ones: what is now important? The family time, the less stressful and slowing down time, the connecting with others time. The changing in what is truly important time. It doesn’t need to be right now, but we should all begin to rethink what is valuable. I know Saint Miriam will be on your list; it is surely on mine!

We’re all new expressions of the one holy Church now. For 12 years now, Saint Miriam has been guiding people to reimagine how they live and what they value. We have done that by listening, loving and serving, and building community. Now it is more important than ever for us to be committed to something greater.

St. Francis once said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Thanks for being a part of our impossible journey at Saint Miriam.

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