Since last week’s column, Renee & I have traveled to just north of Nashville, TN to have a picnic with our daughter, and driven to Charlotte, NC to wish my mom a happy birthday and deliver home grown flowers, home made cookies and fresh peaches. These have been our only big outings since the beginning of March.

(Since both our daughter and my mom are relatively camera shy, I’m safe in sharing this picture of the peaches.)

In both instances we made plans to do this as safely as possible – – traveling with those we’ve been sheltering with, wearing a mask when around others and/or maintaining physically distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and primarily “air hugs”. Yes, I did break down and give a “side hug” to our daughter but not to my mom.

Renee & I continue to take these protective precautions out of love and concern for our family, friends and neighbors and not out of fear or feeling “put upon”.

I continue to be grateful to University Lutheran’s elected leadership and the overwhelming support of the congregation to take both our faith seriously and the science seriously. At the very least, you and I know firsthand of people getting very sick from this virus. I, and perhaps you, know “friends of family/friends” who have died, suffered amputations due to blood clots, or continue to suffer from lingering damage to their lungs, kidneys or other organs. We still have much to learn about this new (novel) virus.

I dream of the day when we can safely regather in the sanctuary to sing our hearts out! To once again be shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart around the communion rail. But till that time I appreciate you continuing to tune in to our Mon – Sat devotions (7:30 AM on Facebook Live, later posted to University Lutheran’s YouTube Channel), to our 9:00 AM Sunday Facebook Live worship, and other ways we are trying to remain connected during this highly unusual time.

If either me or Pastor Josh can be of some assistance, please text, call, or email us & let us know how we as a congregation can help.

God’s peace, justice & love,

Pastor Jon