I try every other year at this time to share my New Year Resolutions. In the past, I’ve tried to do it with a sense of whimsy. It’s a tradition that I don’t want to abandon; however, with this pandemic causing disruption in our lives, this year is a little more difficult. With the vaccines just beginning to be available, I’m feeling a sense of hope that this New Year will begin to restore a sense of order to our lives. It’s impossible to know when or how, but there is hope. So I want to assume that at some point during the coming year, we will begin to regather without all of the fears of infecting each other, and perhaps shake hands again, and perhaps eat in restaurants again, and perhaps travel again, and perhaps send our kids off to school again. It probably will happen slowly, but I have faith that it will begin. So, instead of resolutions this year, I’ll share some a few of my hopes and expectations:
Epiphany is a community of “foodies” composed of two groups – those who are gifted with the skills to prepare food, and those who are gifted with the passion to eat it. I fall into second group, which makes Epiphany the perfect place for me. Almost any activity, from vestry meetings, to Lenten Programs, to yard sales, to coffee hours, brings out food. The pandemic has put a major wrinkle in that side of our life together. Food just doesn’t work over Zoom. So I look forward to sitting down around a table with you and sharing a meal.
Speaking of meals, communion has been awkward, to say the least. “Spiritual Communion” has become an accepted liturgy, but it doesn’t quite do it. Some congregations are sending pre-consecrated wafers home, to be consumed while watching a Eucharist on the computer. Others are distributing little sealed cups with wine and a wafer. There are all sorts of efforts to provide for the spiritual nurturing of the people through Eucharist. Although none of them feel quite right to me, all is not in vain. Trying to distribute wafers outside with tweezers was impossible. So we switched to wonderful cubes of bread prepared by Jim Fisher. As a priest, I look forward to again being able to place a piece of bread directly into your hand. I will be amazed if we go back to the dreaded wafers any time soon. I think we’ve moved beyond them.
Music. For a small congregation, Epiphany has been blessed with remarkable leadership in music, and a very faithful choir. I sing with the choir because I love to sing. I look forward to singing again. For me, it’s a powerful form of praying. But right now, it’s also dangerous. But the day will come when we shall sing again – and I can’t wait.
Masks. Oh, those dreadful masks that help keep us safe, and help us keep others safe. They will probably be about the last thing to be put away. But it will be so good to see people smile again, and not have to listen to muffled voices, and not have them getting tangled in my glasses and over my ears.
This really is a Season of Hope.
January 1, 2021
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A compilation of The Rev. Richard O. Bridgford’s most memorable articles from his nearly 25 years at Church of the Epiphany. Enjoy history, humor, nature, travel, and wacky experiences with Fr. Bridgford, his two-legged and four-legged friends! Recall:
- the New Year’s resolutions he couldn’t keep
- the year Santa’s elf delivered Baby Jesus to the creche
- the volcano that threatened his vacation
- sweet elderly widows and “a little afternoon sherry”
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