"We honor those brave pilgrims who kept faith when hope seemed all but gone. They prayed and sang to You, and through Your blessings, they did carry on."
-Text from Beneath Thy Guiding Hand (the anthem for this week)
This Sunday is Kirkin' o' the Tartans, as well as Reformation Sunday, and it is a tradition that many churches have to honor our Presbyterian Scottish heritage. The text above, taken from the anthem we will sing this Sunday, paints the picture of our spiritual ancestors who crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom, among other things.
I think this text is also appropriate for now in this time of pandemic. Have you had any days in the last six or so months where you felt like hope seemed all but gone? Even in this pandemic, a lot of us "suffer" with conditions that are drastically better than what the first Presbyterians who came over from Scotland experienced. While we might grovel about having to wear a mask at the grocery store, they didn't even have a neighborhood Publix to go to for food. While we debate whether we should leave our homes for fear of viral infection, they didn't have the choice to just stay home and wait out their hardships.
They risked everything and gave up so much, not because a virus forced them to, but because they felt compelled to. I'm sure they complained, but I'm glad they persisted and passed on the faith tradition that we still follow today. I also think about how we as Presbyterians have changed through the years. It reminds me that we are connected to our past yet different from them, because we have grown and adapted to many things. And we are literally in the midst of adapting to new things right now, yet we are still Presbyterians and we are still the church.
As we honor our past this Sunday, let's also remember that we are making history right now. Our Drive-In Worship experience has been a model for our community and it has been a way for us to keep faith, pray, and sing to God. And through God's blessings, we can make it out of this pandemic yet, stronger and more deeply connected.