Noting that we stand at a crossroads this week, Bishop Hughes says, "A person could almost start to ask the question, 'How do we manage it all?' And I think it's important for us to remember, that we don't manage it all. That is the God who created us, the God who loves us, the God who remains with us, that we turn to to help us walk through it all." (Time: 5:07.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. It is the first week of November, and it is therefore a big week in our nation, and it's a big week in our church. Our nation not only goes to the polls to elect a president on Election Day, but votes will be counted through the rest of this week and as long as it takes until the election is solid and we know who the next President of the United States is. It's also a big week in our diocese as we prepare for Communion for everyone on Sunday, November 8th. We have made arrangements so that everyone who wants to receive Communion in person can, and everyone who wants to receive at home, who has made a reservation, will have someone drop Communion at their home. It's a time for us to gather as a diocese, to pray together, and to receive Communion. A busy time in our nation and a busy time for us as church.
At the same time, both our nation and our church and we as individuals and our households are watching, carefully monitoring, the progress of Covid in our midst. Clearly a second wave has begun. Infection rates, hospital rates have begun to climb in New Jersey. Many of our municipalities are watching that information very closely and making decisions, individually, in the municipality – the state has not made a decision yet – but making decisions within the municipality about what businesses, schools, organizations can remain open. We can expect – we need to get ourselves ready for the fact – that it's possible that those of us who have been worshiping in person may need to go back to worshiping online. And we've hopefully kept all of our worship online going anyway, because we didn't want to lose the people who had learned how to get – had a way of connecting with us – by being online in the first place.
We stand at the crossroads of all these things happening: election; Communion for everyone; a surge that seems to be growing in its power in this illness. All of these things happening at the same time. A person could almost start to ask the question, "How do we manage it all?" And I think it's important for us to remember, that we don't manage it all. That is the God who created us, the God who loves us, the God who remains with us, that we turn to to help us walk through it all.
I'm keenly aware that during this election process there are people who have opted out of hard conversations. They don't want to talk about race, they don't want to talk about conflict, they don't want to talk about violence, they don't want to talk about division. The challenge there is, the only way for us through to the other side of what divides us is to have those conversations and to work our way through them.
Where is our help to come from? How are we to do this? It is as the Psalmist says: "Our help comes from the Lord, from the maker of heaven and earth, who will not let our foot be moved, who watches our going out and are coming in from this time forth and forevermore." So we'll continue our prayers as we have already been praying this week for election – the Great Litany at noon day and the prayer vigil in the evenings – we'll continue doing that as long as we need to. We'll continue conversations about difficult topics as long as we need to. And we'll continue to watch out for each other and keep each other safe and make plans that not only does everyone get to receive Communion three times a year, but everyone gets to be in relationship with each other. That we will pray for each other and hold each other up no matter what it is we face.
The good news is we are not alone. God goes with us, and God has given us the gift of each other. I invite you to read Psalm 121 – that is the psalm I was quoting from and it is my favorite psalm. If you've got a favorite you go to your favorite, but if you don't have a favorite, over the next few days, in the morning and in the evening, pray that psalm. Remember: the God who made you is your nearest help.