Shared by Rev. Sarah Cordray, pastor at Luther Memorial in Syracuse
Most often through this pandemic, the reality of limitations has caused us to look at what we cannot do. But, Luther Memorial would argue the opposite in what they have been able to do because of what the Drive-In service in their parking lot has brought them. They have learned so much through who has joined them and what they have celebrated together!
Drive-In service has allowed their members to bring their pets to worship. Odin, a yellow lab puppy is being brought up in the church with every honk of “Peace be with You” as he lays in the back seat and chews on his toy. He is the most excited member to greet the pastors after worship in the drive by greeting. Several other new puppies, who were brought home as a result of the quarantine and the additional stay-at-home time for families, have also been a part of their service. Oscar and Scooter were a few of the other dogs who made it apparent that a pet blessing was a must this summer. They even got to have “Dog” the chick and Cocoa the bunny visit as well.
Although their hearts grieved not getting to celebrate First Communion with their seventeen 3rd grade youth on Maundy Thursday inside the sanctuary, their hearts were filled with joy as they celebrated this milestone in August at Drive-In worship. How holy and blessed it was for parents to take the bread that they and their youth previously made and break it together. How special it was for these parents, who promised at their child’s baptism to bring their child to the holy supper … how holy to witness these parents place in their child’s hands the bread and the wine of their first communion.
And as they share in these new blessings, they are grateful for the 97-year-old member, Alice Marie who lives right across the street from their parking lot, who is now able to join in worship. Alice can now open her window every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., place her bread and wine on her dining room table near the window, and worship with the congregation “in-person”—something she had not been able to do in years.
Like so many others, they grieve what has been lost in 2020, but Christ’s presence has brought them so much to be grateful for in the form of unexpected visitors and celebrations that have moved them to see what IS. Thanks be to God!
*To see Rev. Cordray's video message with special guest Odin, visit- https://youtu.be/AZbsxIZjwlM.