The Prayers of Many
To All the Saints of Austin:
You join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Cor. 1:11
As always, I’m very much looking forward to worshiping with you tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. central time at https://www.allsaints-austin.org/live-worship. One of the great things about entering online worship at that link is that everything is there and ready for you: You can make a pledge or an offering, download a current order of service, and join the online Zoom meeting, all from that page.
A couple of things before we see each other tomorrow:
When we began our online worship, I had an instinct that I wasn’t sure was right, but it’s been better than that: For my money, it’s the best part of our weekly worship: the part where we offer our own prayers to God in each other’s presence, and listen and hold up each other’s prayers as we hear them. The worst thing that can happen during our extended time apart is that we lose our sense of community, and specifically that we are the Body of Christ at a particular place. Our prayers in each other’s presence binds us in Christ and sustains us until we can share Holy Communion again together.
Although we open the floor every week for announcements, and also have “virtual coffee hour” after worship for open conversation, I’ve noticed that comments, questions, and announcements have begun to move into the part of the service set aside for prayer. Sometimes subtly, and sometimes so much that I wonder if we’ll be able to recover the prayer we came for. I definitely want us all to hear each other’s announcements. During the announcements. And I definitely want to hear your comments and questions. At virtual coffee hour. But I’m asking that we use our prayer time to pray.
Blessing of the Animals
Remember also that Oct. 4 is the Feast of St. Francis, and we’re offering Blessing of the Animals tomorrow, Sunday afternoon, from 1-2. Travis, Steve, and I will be available on the south lawn of the church. We’ll have one or more “mushers” (ushers for dogs and other pets) to direct the flow of participants, ensure masking and social distancing, and pets and their humans to come forward for a contact-free blessing. On a space-available basis, we will admit more than one household at a time onto the south lawn so that we can bless animals in groups. The reason for trying for groups and for avoiding “drive-through pet blessing” is not to hurry things along, but to preserve, as much as is possible and safe, a sense of community. God’s blessing is something we experience in each other, and not in private transactions.
Masks and 10-foot distancing between households, including animals, is required at all times. Please follow the directions of the “mushers” to help maintain safety and a positive experience for everyone.
Pre-registration is required, and it’s easy. Just visit https://allsaintsaustin.brushfire.com/service/480042 to let us know you’re coming. If the numbers are high, we’ll extend beyond 2 p.m.
Note that when you register, you’ll be asked for emergency contact info for EACH person participating so that we can notify you if we learn that any participant has tested positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of this event. By registering, you are agreeing to let us know immediately if you know or suspect that you are COVID-19 positive within two weeks of the event. Your registration also affirms your willingness to wear a mask at all times, maintain 10-foot minimum distance from other households, and to follow the safety and traffic flow instructions of clergy and “mushers.”
While you’re waiting, you’re welcome to get out of your car and stay in the parking lot if that’s more comfortable, as long as you’re maintaining 10-foot minimum distancing from other households. Because the pavement may be hot enough to be painful for animals, you may want to consider street parking so your pets can walk on grass instead of concrete.
We’re looking forward to seeing you this Sunday for worship at 10:30 a.m. central time at https://allsaints-austin.org/live-worship, and Sunday afternoon at All Saints’ for Blessing of the Animals!