How is it possible to be present to one another in this age of coronavirus? As Governor Murphy said the other day, “Take care of each other, but do it six feet apart!” What does it mean to be “present with” when we can’t be “with” others? At the Oaks, where we live, visitors are not allowed in. That means families cannot come to visit, cannot see their loved ones, cannot share physical presence, unless they take them out—if they are able to go out! This absence, of “not being with,” increasingly marks our days.
We know from Scripture that God’s presence is always with us. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” The promise of God’s presence with us—no matter what is happening to us—is what we need to hear right now! God’s presence is a reality we can experience. When we sit in silence in prayer, we are present with what we cannot see, yet we trust God’s presence to be with us in that moment.
So I would invite you today to be consciously present with those you love and care about, but can’t touch. Reach out with your heart toward those you hold in your heart. Write a personal note, an email; send a text, letting them know you are thinking of them. Make a phone call and listen—truly listen—to their worries, their fears, their hopes. Know, as you do so, that you and they are always held in God’s loving presence. Trust that God can help you be present to all those you can’t be physically with today.
Let us pray: “Always and Everywhere God, help us to be intimately aware of your Presence, and help us to be present–in spirit–with those we love, those we care about, all those we hold in our hearts. Amen”.
The Rev Sherm Skinner