Labyrinth like most churches has moved into an online space since Spring Break. COVID-19 blew all our plans out of the water. No chapel, no lounge, no dinner. We wondered, what does ministry look like when we don’t gather in the same physical space? Our gatherings are so central to our identity – what will connect us when we’re apart? Concerned for our students’ well-being, we decided to start by sending care packages full of items that met their physical and spiritual needs alike.
Last semester, Austin had brought some votives that were left over from another org’s event, and I stashed them in the chapel closet. When we began packing care packages, I knew I could grab a couple of votives for each student and send them across Texas to connect us back to our home at Labyrinth. Leaving the empty chapel felt sad and worrisome, not knowing when we would gather there again. But watching our students open their care packages through photos, videos, and texts warmed my heart again. Our community is not about a place. It’s about the connections we share.
We’ve begun posting prompts for spiritual practices on our social media, and the week before we began worshiping together again, we asked everyone to set aside some sacred space wherever they were staying. We all have different stories, different objects that are meaningful to us, different altars. But as René wrote in our updated call to presence, “we gather together in spirit and heart and light through our candles.”
May you find sacred space in your own home, and may you remember every time you light a candle, whether an LED tealight, a birthday candle, a Saint Dolly Parton votive, or a roaring fireplace, that the light of Christ connects us all through these worrisome times.