By the Reverend Canon Caleb J. Lee,
President of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of South Carolina
This past Saturday I was supposed to preside at the wedding of my younger brother and his fiancé. It was going to be a big wedding out at the farm. I have a big family and an even bigger extended family. Any time we can get together all as one to celebrate is a very special time. My brother had spent many a Saturday out at the farm preparing the space for the big day. But, like everything else this spring, the big day had to be postponed. All that preparation and excitement now lays dormant, as we await the news of when we might be able to travel and gather once more. This is not just the case for my brother’s wedding. There have been other weddings postponed; other important sacraments and rites that have had to be postponed.
Since early December I have been prepping my 36 candidates for Confirmation as they were to be confirmed on May 3.
At the Easter Vigil we were going to baptize three teenagers.
On the Second Sunday of Easter we were to baptize all those babies whose families have had to wait until after the penitential season of Lent was over.
Funerals, if administered, are private and limited to only a handful of family. What about the celebration of life that reminds us of the baptismal community gathered ‘round the family and the one who has entered into eternal life?
Postpone, postpone, postpone is the name of the game these days. God must be in this somewhere. What are we learning from this experience of blanket postponements? I have learned and am learning the following:
First and foremost, I think it is good to give thanks for life. It is good to keep perspective that there are many in the world who couldn’t care less whether something is postponed. They are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Second, we are in the most “Adventy” Easter ever! My friend, The Reverend Jay Sidebotham, was quoted this past Lent as saying, “This is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented.” Well this is the most “Adventy” Easter I have ever Easter-ed! That is to say, this Easter season, we are waiting for a lot of things to happen. We have prepared as best as we can. We are still waiting. What does it mean to celebrate the risen life of Jesus in the midst of pandemic and hunkering down? This one is tough and a worthy subject for our prayer life.
Third, postponed does not mean cancelled. There is much to look forward to during this season of blanket postponement. I am looking forward to seeing the Avett Brothers in concert in August after their April show was postponed. I am looking forward to getting more time with our young confirmands when we are able to meet again and reschedule a confirmation. It will be glorious. They will always remember the year they were confirmed, that is for sure. I look forward to the celebration that will ensue when my brother is finally married to the love of his life.
Finally, the good news is that God does not postpone. God’s grace, love, and mercy is for you. It is for you now. We don’t have to wait for it. There is no barrier to it. There is no separation from it. There is no date on the calendar when we can finally have it again. God’s love is now. God’s life is now. In the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead, we no longer have to wait. Alleluia! Christ is risen!
During the uncertain times created by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, leadership of the diocese will send out regular meditations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for the next while as we all adjust to a new chapter of living and being the Church.