Even though we're under a stay-at-home order and have to maintain physical distance, we're still connected by our hearts, by our loves and by God's love for each of us – and we can continue to nurture our connection to God and to each other without leaving our houses. (Time: 5:11.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. It is Easter week and I am still thinking about the passage that we read on Sunday. I'm thinking about Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and how the angel of the Lord told them to go and tell the disciples that Jesus was alive, and they went as fast as they could, and in their running they ran straight into Jesus.
I'm thinking about the disciples – we didn't read about this section – but the disciples, once they heard that Jesus was alive and that the women told him that they would see him in Galilee, they got up and went. And I think of them in in our own terms. Galilee was 90 miles away from where they were. If we were told that we could go see Jesus 90 miles away in Poughkeepsie – that's 90 miles from where I am right now – I would just get in my car and rush right over. But the disciples did not get in their car – they had to walk there. It would take me days to walk to Poughkeepsie from here, but they got up and they went.
So the thing that I started asking us on Sunday is to consider where it is that God is asking you to go. Now that's a hard thing to consider right now because we have a stay-at-home order that says that we can't go outside of our home. That we need to maintain this physical distance. But there's something that we have learned in these weeks of being quarantined, and that is that we are so connected. That we're connected by our hearts, by our loves and by God's love for each of us. That that draws us together. It's drawn us together in worship, it's drawn us together in prayer, it's drawn us together in coffee hour online, and all the ways that we gather. It's drawing us together in picking up the phone, it's drawing us together in volunteering.
And so I ask you, from your home, where you are maintaining that physical distance, what is it that God is asking you to go and do? Because now is the time to go. Going may mean that it is teleconferencing, going may mean that it is a phone call, going may mean that it's writing a letter, going may mean that it's encouraging someone who needs encouragement, and going may mean that you sit in the foot of Jesus saying your prayers with as much fervency as such as that you have to bring. There's all kinds of ways we can go.
You know there's a group of people that I've been particularly worried about during this, and that is all of those college students that were released, especially the graduating seniors. They went home and they will not have their graduation. I imagine they're a pretty creative group of people, they're going to figure out ways to celebrate that with their college friends online. But they're not going to have that official rite of passage at the end of the time that they worked so hard to earn their degree. And also they're not having all those on-campus recruiters come on, and it might be hard figuring out what your resume has, who it's going to be sent to and what your job prospects are. And I am wondering how God is asking us to go and encourage that group of people among us. Now if you've got one of those students in your own house I'm not saying it's your job, I'm saying it's the job of all of us around you. Of the people that know and have been a part of those students' lives as they were baptized and confirmed and went off to college. It's important for those students to know that we're praying for them. It's important for those students to know that we're willing to pick up the phone and help them find a place to apply for a job. It is important for them to know that they are not in this alone – and I suppose we all need to know that.
Here's the powerful thing about when we go – even when we're going from the safety of our own living room – that when we go, and when all of that time going is spent on the couch, but maybe on the internet or on the phone or writing a letter, that when we go we're helping ourselves and everyone else know that we are not alone. We are beloved by God and we are connected to each other.