• Bill McLean

...and the world did not come to an end

The tradition began on a bright sunny afternoon twelve years ago. When our kids get home from school on the last day of school, Mom and I ambush them for a water battle. Kindergarten was a complete surprise for our oldest, but by first grade the bus was exited at a running start and the battle was on.

Then we were hit with the reality of a pandemic and AP exams. We no longer had a traditional last day of school or there were exams until 6:00pm at night. Yet, instead of giving up beloved traditions we adapted them to our new reality.

Last year we ambushed the oldest after textbooks were returned to the high school. And this year, our youngest orchestrated ambushing Mom (who is a school librarian) this past Friday when she came home from closing out the library the day after school ended.

And something amazing happened. The world did not come to an end. Sure, things were different, but the laughter and soaking clothes were just as authentic as all the years before.

Since March 2020, we have all adapted and adjusted in ways we would never have imagined in February 2020. And much like our family water battle . . . the world did not come to an end. Traditions and customs were adapted (and sometimes even dropped entirely) so that we could care for each other.

It has been a joy to see all the ways that congregations and individuals have adapted to our rapidly changing environment. The resiliency and creativity of your ministries is awe inspiring.

As we transition into more familiar formats for gathering and interacting, it is important that we do not forget the adaptability and skills we have developed during the pandemic. When we return to sanctuaries and fellowship halls let us continue to explore and experiment with how to include everyone in our worship and fellowship.

While things might be different, the joy, love, and grace we experience as we come together as the body of Christ in the world is just as authentic.

May the peace of Christ be with you today and every day.

Grace and peace, Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II Presbyter for Congregational Care Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

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