Sermon by Shawn Newton.
Three years ago, we were just beginning to process the specter of a virus that could wreak havoc in our world. By mid-March, of course, we were under lockdowns, still naïvely hoping all the fuss would pass in a few weeks. Since then, through wave after wave of infections, the nervous embrace or refusal of public health measures, and the mobilisation to roll out vaccines, we have changed. The pandemic has upended so much of the world we knew. Aside from the disruption to supply-chains and the damage to the economy, the pandemic has altered how we behave, how we move through the world, and how we navigate our relationship with strangers, neighbours, and our family and friends. I believe these past three years have also changed how many of us relate to ourselves, given that many of us have experienced isolation in deeper ways than we may have previously experienced. While it may take years and decades to understand the long-term impact of all of these changes, I will, on Sunday, be reflecting on the meaning of solitude and loneliness—and the very different invitations they each offer for deeper connection with life itself.