Draw us in the Spirit's tether, for when humbly in your name
two or three are met together, you are in the midst of them.
- Percy Dearmer (from a communion hymn)
I've always been fascinated with space, but lately, I've been thinking more about it as I've taken evening walks. It is really something to recognize how much the appearance of the Moon changes each night, if you really pay attention. If we were to go up to space right now and go out on a space walk from the International Space Station, we'd be reliant on a "tether" to ensure we didn't accidentally drift off into the void, lost forever.
This text from this hymn (and also the tune for the final piece of the Prelude this week) makes me ponder this imagery. What is the Spirit's tether? I like to think of it as being something that keeps us safe from floating off into the void of darkness that seems to linger all around us. It's something that supports us and is connected to us. It's something that may be hanging loose when we are not in danger of "floating away" but is there to catch us. Something that is sort of a first line of defense against danger.
So what is the Spirit's tether then? To me, it's the church. Not the buildings, not the steeples, and not even the West Parking Lot! No, it's the people! Remember, "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together"? I think this is that tether that keeps us from drifting away into darkness. The Holy Spirit works through all of us to do many things, and one of those is to reach out and connect with others in fellowship. We as Christians have done that for thousands of years, and we continue to do it, even during this pandemic. There is of course more to the church than just fellowship but I think it really starts with fellowship in worship together. How does it change us to know that we are all "tethered" together, even now? What can we accomplish together?