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TRIMBLE: Same as it ever was … not so much

My friend Pete wrote a column the other day using the loss of spring baseball as a springboard to delve into the current situation in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, nation and around the globe.

The coronavirus has changed our lives almost overnight.

We’re told by scientists it takes about three weeks of active disciplinary action to make something into a habit. It could be a new diet, an exercise program, quitting smoking or becoming a fan of Nickelback (Just kidding. That’s just not gonna happen).

Winchester and Clark County have undergone sudden changes in doing business, going about daily life, congregating, even greeting each other on the sidewalk, if we’re even on the sidewalk.

The statewide quarantine has prompted new ways of approaching all interaction — staying six feet apart, wearing masks and gloves in public, many “non-essential” businesses being closed, restaurants moving to drive-through or curbside.

It truly has thrown us for a loop.

It’s so much harder to protect ourselves and be vigilant against an “enemy” we can’t see or even imagine. A deadly virus that’s brand new to scientists and the worldwide medical experts that spreads quickly on six of our planet’s seven continents is serious and worthy of our attention and lifestyle changes.

In the last four weeks, I got married, we moved to a new house on the Kentucky River, our children have become quarantined with us (kind of like Brady Bunch, without Alice), and my work as an Episcopal priest has been turned on its head.

I can’t meet with parishioners in my church study or coffee shop. Our church meetings are done online. The regular worship services are streamed live over Facebook or from my back patio.

My faith tradition pays special attention to the days before Easter (Holy Week), where we delve in, liturgically, to the journey toward the cross, where the savior was executed about 2,000 years ago.

Those days had to be creatively honored via the internet. I had to film my Easter service on Holy Saturday, because of the concern of live internet network overload on Sunday morning.

The gathered church is not gathered in one place right now. We’re scattered.

This has proven to be a good reminder and call to action that the church is not a building, but a people.

Our worship can happen anywhere.

Our prayers can be lifted up anywhere.

Our ordained clergy can pastor via internet from their garden, or phone on the patio or even drive-through church in a parking lot.

The 21st Century followers of Jesus, or religious Jews, Muslims or any other faith tradition folks have been asked to recall their ancestors.

Church/synagogue/mosque structures have never been promised us.

Our vestments or offering plates or pension plans or covered-dish suppers were not always a given. These things have become customary and should never be held on to so tightly we forget the foundation of our faith.

For me, as a Christian, the date of Easter Sunday has been observed with liturgy and prayers and alleluias.

Another celebration, though, will occur when we can once again gather together as a people, hold each others’ hands and hug each others’ necks; when we can sing the resurrection hymns and receive the Holy Eucharist.

Until then, we persevere in our faith.

We hold each other up in prayer.

We watch out for and check on those in our communities who are vulnerable and anxious.

We refrain from gathering, stay home and share silly memes on Instagram and Facebook.

We remember those who have succumbed to this disease and their families.

We lift up and support all caregivers and leaders.

And we continue to love and support our neighbors. All our neighbors.

Father Jim Trimble is the priest-in-charge at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Lexington Road in Winchester. He can be reached at fatherjim.emmanuel@gmail.com on Facebook or hanging out in his backyard on the Kentucky River.