Dear Stevens Memorial and Zion's Hill communities:
"How is it with your soul?" This is the question John Wesley would ask his gathered small groups back in the 1700s, at the infancy of the Methodist movement.
It is still a very valid question in the present day. Maybe you don't think often of your soul. Or maybe you are in touch with your soul at every moment. Maybe your answer to this question depends on how you define "soul." There are myriad ways to approach this question. All of them are valid.
"How is it with your soul," is a much deeper question than, "How are you." I believe that most of the time this latter question is asked as a formality, as part of polite discourse. People do not expect more than a one word answer to this question. In fact, if someone gave a lengthy response, the person who asked it may become impatient or annoyed.
The question, "How is it with your soul," is even more vital in the current COVID-19 event.
And so I invite you to pause for a moment today and quiet yourself. Evaluate yourself. "How is it with your soul?"
Once you have done this exercise, it would be wonderful if each one of you would take the time to ask someone else this question. I encourage you to think of someone who you know but is outside of our church communities, and may be feeling a sense of fear or isolation today. Someone who would benefit from you asking them this question. And, importantly, not just asking the question, but taking the time to genuinely listen to their answer.
Let's demonstrate ourselves to be the body of Christ in the world today.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
--Lynn Ungar 3/11/20