August 5, 2021
Dear Bethel Church,
We know we speak for many of you when we say, “We are all so weary of this pandemic”. It is hard to watch Covid numbers rise across the state and nation again. There is hesitancy and uncertainty about what we need to do next. Nearly everyone has an opinion, and most are not afraid to share it. It is exhausting and overwhelming. In these moments, it is always a good idea to turn to Jesus. Over a year ago, our first Sunday with you, the scripture text was from Matthew 11 where Jesus tells the crowds, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus tells us that we are to give our burdens to Jesus AND learn from him. So, what can we learn from Jesus that can help us in the situation we are facing? We should be like him, gentle and humble in heart.
What does it mean to be gentle amid the enduring pandemic? Showing love to those who are grieving. Practicing patience with others. Supporting those who are in health care. Doing all we can to protect those who are vulnerable.
What does it mean to be humble in the face of uncertainty? Not pretending like we have all the answers. Listening to the experts. Not being judgmental. Remembering that we, as individuals and as a church, are a part of a much larger community around us.
We have found that by remembering these things and knowing that we are in this together, the burden eases a bit. It is still there, but with Jesus, it does become lighter.
We want to remind you of a few things as we continue to do life together as a Bethel Church Community. If you are uncomfortable coming to worship or other activities, we understand. We will still be livestreaming worship so that if you are not in person, you can still be connected. We will resume wearing our masks in large gatherings. We are doing this because we have a young daughter who cannot be vaccinated and to protect other vulnerable people with whom we interact. We also invite you to consider wearing a mask in large gatherings to lower the risk of transmission in our community. If you are eligible and medically able and have not yet received a vaccination, please consider doing so. We are so thankful for the scientists who have been working diligently to make this vaccine available to us. We trust the data that tells us the vaccine is working, and even if you have a breakthrough case decreases the intensity of COVID if one should contract the virus and its variants. Lastly, for the sake of the whole community, if you are feeling ill, please practice loving your neighbor by waiting until you are feeling better before returning to worship or other activities. As always, we are holding things loosely as we navigate this ongoing pandemic together.
Some of this may be too much for people and not enough for others. We know that. We feel the burden of caring for you all and want nothing but the best for Bethel and all of those who call her home. We truly consider ourselves to be blessed to be able to call ourselves your pastors.
Gently and humbly,
Rev. Megan Gray and Rev. Brad Gray