With another new “variant” of the COVID-19 virus already among us, I’m not surprised. As millions of people in the USA and around the world are still getting sick from the virus and thousands dying weekly in the USA alone, the virus continues to have many opportunities to mutate to a more effective way of spreading, even to a few of those already fully vaccinated. We can pray that the virus doesn’t mutate to be more deadly than it already is. It’s striking to me that almost every person who dies now from the virus is not vaccinated.
This is the season of Advent for the Christian church. Advent is variously described as “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event,” “the first season of the Christian year,” and “the coming or second coming of Jesus Christ.” We anticipate the return of Christ in the second coming as Christ the King.
I’ve begun reading from “Preparing Room: An Advent Companion” by Russell J. Levenson, Jr. It gives daily scripture readings, stories, meditation guides, and prayers for each day of Advent. It’s also available as an ebook for instant reading. I’ve found the book to be very helpful in leading me to consider Christ’s return, both as King and as a new-born in a manger.
Our emphasis in this season of Advent is to contemplate and meditate on what God through Christ means to us. How can we “prepare room” in our hearts for God’s word and God’s love? Our hearts are “stuffed full” of all the complexities and challenges of just living in this time. What can we set aside to leave room in our hearts for a better understanding of God? How can we make time to not only pray, but to make time to listen for God’s still, small voice?
These are not easy questions to take time to ask or answer. But I believe this is what God calls us to do every day. I’m certainly not “perfect” with these challenges either, but the grace of God is never-ending.
In closing, I didn’t expect the theme of this writing to be another exposé of facts we already know about COVID-19. But as infections rise again in Delaware County it’s difficult to ignore. My best hope for Delaware County is that it’s still in the lead of every other Ohio county for the highest level of vaccinations. This reduces the spread of the virus here, including wearing appropriate masks appropriately and keeping physical distance from others not in our household. And vaccinations reduce the chance for mutations of the virus. We’re meeting in-person at church with masks on again, and we’re broadcasting every Sunday as we have since March 15, 2020. We still come together in weekly worship, either in-person or online, to give thanks and praise to God.
I pray that you and yours find your way in this season of holidays to be closer to each other, to offer and to open communications with family and friends, and to enjoy the love that God has for each of us and our neighbors.
The Rev. David Kendall-Sperry is the rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 45 W. Winter St., Delaware, and can be reached at 740-369-3175. He’s a member of the Delaware Ministerial Association and a life member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, an Episcopal ministry to men and boys. He’s married and has three adult children and two grandchildren.