So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God
As you may know for the November Presbytery meeting, I was quarantined at home due to both of my family members testing positive for COVID. A few hours after the meeting I too was in bed with symptoms, so I am grateful for the early warning given by their positive tests. Because of COVID restrictions much of my work with the Presbytery has been online since I started back in 2020. As I come up on my third anniversary working with the Presbytery, I am grateful that it has been possible for me to do so much of my work online. Yet, I think we all have a sense that our lives are much fuller when they happen in person. I have heard from many of our church leaders that making the transition back to in person has been a burden they were not expecting.
I am reminded of a story1 about a hungry traveler who came upon a town hoping to find food. Each house in the town had a lovely lawn and windows open to let in the breeze, but curiously each door had half a dozen locks on it. The traveler wondered what they were trying to protect, but she thought surely, they will have some food to share, so she began knocking on doors. Door after door she was rejected. They townspeople told her they worked hard for their food and wouldn’t even share with their neighbors, so why would they share with a stranger. The traveler started to leave, but then had an idea.
She went into the forest to collect wood to build a fire and water to fill her tin pot. She started the fire in the middle of the main street and brought the water to a boil. The townspeople stuck their head out of the doors and shouted to her, asking her what she was doing. She told them making a magic stew. She got their attention, and they began to ask questions about her magic stew. She told them she needed a special ingredient, keys. Well, the townspeople had plenty of keys and ran into their homes to get some to share with her. I imagine you can see where the story is going, the townspeople end up eagerly sharing their pots, salt and pepper, and vegetables. They think of all the things they have that would make this magic stew even better and, in the end, have a large party enjoying stew around shared tables and chairs. The party goes late into the night as they tell stories, play music, and dance. When it becomes too cold to remain outside, they unlock their doors and move the party into their homes.
Now I will certainly be the first to say that we still must be careful of our health and the health of our neighbors. If we are sick, we should stay home. And we also need to find ways to undo the locks that we all have put up to keep ourselves safe and remember how to share in community.
Our November Presbytery meeting was a wonderful example of how the small and large gifts of everyone create beautiful, fun, and meaningful experiences.
In our churches and in our work together as a Presbytery, I invite you to find ways to share of your time, your talents, and your things, to work to build up the household of God. We each have at least a key that we can share.
1 The story was told on the podcast Circle Round created by WBUR Boston on January 2, 2018, Episode 17.