From the Pastor – Spring 2022

“Are we there yet?”

That question is a frequent part of lengthy car rides. For children, anything more than fifteen minutes can seem like an eternity and thus that query and its road-trip cousin of “How much longer?” get posed repeatedly to their parents as the miles and time build. What’s being expressed, of course, in those questions is a deep longing to be set free from the car seat and vehicle that is protecting them and finally to arrive at the destination.

As a culture, we have been asking those same questions for two years. They did not arise during a long car trip, of course, but rather a worldwide pandemic. We faced challenges we could not have imagined in March of 2020—empty streets and offices, remote learning and mask mandates, bare grocery shelves and virtual meetings. As conditions improved, there were still limits at DPC on how many people could gather inside or how closely we could stand next to others, how much singing would occur during worship and limits on sharing food. Last summer brought more progress, but the omicron variant caused new restrictions and with it frayed nerves. Exhaustion arose both here and elsewhere. Like children in a backseat, we all long for true freedom and with new signs of improvement can wonder, “Are we there yet?” 

Certainly, there is clear evidence of progress. Masks are now optional on our campus and we are resuming indoor events that include food. We are singing more on Sunday morning and conversations have started about when we will re-open the nursery. An increasing number of the meetings here are returning to in-person gatherings and the energy that arises when people can talk face-to-face has returned. My favorite moment during the congregational meeting in February came as the votes were being tallied and the sound of conversation and laughter filled the sanctuary in a way that has not happened in nearly two years. I’m hopeful such moments will grow.                     

Still, if the question “Are we there yet?” means our having reached the place where Covid and all of its challenges are behind us for good or if life at DPC will be exactly as it was before, then my answer is “no.” Not only does the evidence suggest we will live with the virus for the near future, but there are too many good things learned during the past two years of ministry that will not be set aside. Our worship experience, for instance, has forever been broadened to include those who may never set foot inside our sanctuary and members who can join us now while traveling. That’s a positive outcome of the pandemic and along with other lessons gained during that time they will continue to shape our ministry moving forward.

Yet even if we never get “there” fully, the emergence of a new kind of normalcy is appearing, bringing with it signs of what we share as a body of faith. And for that trend and your faithfulness as we navigated this incredibly hard season of life, I give thanks to Almighty God!