Last week I met with my clergy group for the first time since November of 2019. Prior to the pandemic we have met twice a year since 2002. We met at one of the members summer home in the 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River in New York and that is only accessible by boat. I literally took a plane, train, automobile, and boat to get to the house. I felt like I was in one of the Richard Scarry illustrated books I grew up with as a kid. This was the first time I had traveled since before the pandemic, and it was a bit of shock to the system. It felt like the entire country had been let off its leash and was free to roam.
I knew nothing about the 1000 Islands except it’s where my favorite salad dressing was invented. It is stunningly beautiful and aptly named. Every morning I would go down to the boat house to listen to the river and pray. The massive tankers moving through the shipping channel are going so slowly it felt like a meditation to watch them go by.
The true blessing, of course, was being with my clergy group again. We have been meeting regularly on Zoom through the pandemic, but until we gathered in person, I didn’t fully realize what a poor substitute it is for extended time in the company of people you love and who love you. We always have several structured sessions where all nine of us are together, but it was the unscheduled time where we would reconnect in groups of two or three that I loved the most. Jesus said that when two or three are gathered in his name he is in the midst of them. I felt that intensely and with a deep sense of gratitude. I pray you can gather safely with friends or family this summer. It’s good for the soul.