By Conference Minister Diane Weible
“My congregation thinks I walk on water because I taught them to use Zoom.”
A colleague said this to me today and it made me laugh. As her words continued to echo in my mind, I asked her if I could share this in my newsletter article for this week.
Jesus walking on water is a story we know well. And when we think of this story we can’t help but think about Peter. Peter, who wanted desperately to join Jesus out on the waves but lacked the faith he needed to be able to get out of the boat and stay afloat, needed help to make it happen. It was in Jesus that Peter found the faith to keep going and not give up. And, he did it. He walked on water.
My colleague who shared this story about her congregation’s response to her introducing them to Zoom was laughing because she said that a few weeks ago she couldn’t have done it and now she was seen by the members of her church as having accomplished something no one thought possible. It was her Peter moment and, I know, one of many that she has had and that she will have in our COVID-19 world.
A few weeks ago there were a lot of things I didn’t know how to do or didn’t think I needed to do. A few weeks ago, I didn’t have the confidence or the faith to believe that we could find true community while being physically absent from one another. A few weeks ago I said that there was no way we would figure out how to experience Holy Week from our individual homes. A few weeks ago I hadn’t had some pretty incredible conversations with friends, family and colleagues in ministry.
You may be thinking that I am now going to say, “And, now, I have done all those things and I have it all figured out.” Don’t worry, I won’t say that. I can’t say that. I have done (or am doing) all those things and I don’t have it all figured out. There is still so much I’m seeking the wisdom and knowledge and the confidence to try. Just like you, just like all of us, I’m keep going, one wave at a time.
Jesus instills in us the faith and the confidence to keep trying to figure this out when there is nothing for us to look to for guidance as to where to start. We rely on one another. We are working together and supporting one another in some pretty amazing ways. We are experiencing community on a level I could never have imagined.
One example of this is the email you all should’ve received on Tuesday, inviting all of us to sign on to a letter that will be sent tomorrow to the major newspapers in our Northern California and Northern Nevada communities. In the first few hours of sending that newsletter we had over 100 signatures and I know that number is much higher as I write this. Our siblings in Asian communities throughout this country are being blamed for a virus that infects all people of all ethnicities, ages, and demographics. The virus is an excuse to perpetuate hate speech and racism that is woven into the fabric of a dominating society. Even sheltered-in-place, we can and are having a voice in speaking up and demanding that such hatred no longer be tolerated. (If you haven’t signed on to the letter yet, please read further down in the newsletter for the text and a link where you can sign on.)
As we approach Palm Sunday and journey with Jesus on the road that is Holy Week, let us not forget just how much we have learned and accomplished in the last few weeks and how much more we will figure out as we keep seeking the strength and guidance to move forward. I continue to be so grateful to serve alongside all of you (even if that is a bit metaphorical at this time) in this work we continue to do together to bring the message of Holy Week to a world that needs to hear it now more than ever.