“Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time. Our intention here is not to deprecate the world of space. To disparage space and the blessing of things of space, is to disparage the works of creation, the works which God beheld and saw ‘it was good.’ ...Time and space are interrelated. To overlook either of them is to be partially blind. What we plead against is man’s unconditional surrender to space, his enslavement to things. We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.”
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel - The Sabbath
What unordinary times in which we now live. We couldn't have imagined during our gathering on March 8th that it would be our last time to gather in person for an indefinite amount of time. But now we find ourselves in Eastertide, a time that invites us to see, name, and live into Easter all around—claiming where God is alive and at work and inviting us in and alongside. And also, a time where we are socially distanced for who knows how long, many of us still overwhelmed by the upending of “normalcy,” and some of us struggling to remember what day of the week it is.
What are faithful next steps for Emmaus Way during this pandemic?
Our Emmaus Way Staff and Lead Team have been in conversation with our community over the past five weeks and heard, in various ways, our collectively limited bandwidth and exhaustion. As we’ve talked together about how Emmaus Way continues to be church throughout this pandemic—and during upcoming maternity and paternity leaves on our staff—we invite you into A Season of Sabbath and Communion at Emmaus Way. Our hope is that this season meets our community right where we are, creates meaningful experiences and space for each of us individually and collectively, and offers a framework to live into this unordinary time with intention.
What do we mean by A Season of Sabbath and Communion?
By Sabbath we mean that we as Emmaus Way will lean into this unordinary time rather than push against it. The pandemic has broken up the ordinary time to which our lives had become centered. Similarly to how Sabbath functions throughout scriptures and multiple faiths, this Sabbath season offers us the space to live into time differently. We are invited to lean into Sabbath uniquely, to rest more fully, to hold space for God and one another more profoundly, and to simplify our living more intentionally. By Communion we mean that this community will continue to care for and check in on one another during these days and weeks as we individually and collectively connect via Zooms, hangouts, texts, and calls.
By holding Sabbath and Communion together, we’re not running away from this pandemic or acting like it hasn’t upended our lives. Rather, we’re leaning into the unique space created by this pandemic. We’re leaning into that space to be beloved Emmaus Way together through an intentional time of Sabbath and Communion. Both Sabbath and Communion allow us to breathe in ways we wouldn’t be able to in overly programmed lives. This season is a time for us to more fully embody the realities of Sabbath and Communion because this unordinary time will forever shape who we are once physically back together.
As in recent weeks, there will still be ways to gather together via Zoom each week, and Sunday prayers and practices sent out weekly. Staff and Lead Team will continue to curate creative resources and ways to connect in this season, even as we encourage every one of our co-ministers to co-create this as a robust and life-giving season together. [We'll continue distributing information about all these things through our Eway Weekly and Social listservs. If you're not on these lists and looking to connect with us during this time, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
As Emmaus Way community, we see this season of Sabbath and Communion as a time to embrace transformation and refuse going fallow. So we're determined to slow down, grow in connection to God and one another, and expand ourselves in ways we couldn’t apart from this intentional season. Until we are together again in the flesh, we walk slowly forward together, with great intention and hope for what may be.