We have been through a lot: 

  • Almost 12 months of social distancing, wearing masks, no social gatherings with non-pod groups, and washing our hands frequently 
  • Many friends and family members contracting the COVID virus 
  • Deaths of those we knew, some even very well 
  • Then, Storm Uri and more isolation ─ and for many no power, water or Internet 
  • For some, it meant getting to warming station 
  • Then as warmer weather slowly emerged, water sprang forth and drenched our homes and churches

How are we going to survive and live in the midst of such disconnection and difficulty? 

I’m not going to attempt to answer this question for us. I merely want to ask a few questions and invite us into a dialogue with ourselves, with God and with others. 

Who is in our support bubble?  How are our relationships with others? 

In the U.K., for people who have been cut off from family and friends, they have created “support bubbles.” According to a BBC online article, “Support Bubbles: How do they work and who is in yours?” a bubble is “a group of people with whom you have close physical contact… people in a bubble can stay overnight in each other’s homes, visit outdoor places together, and do not have to social distance.”  

It may or may not be a good idea for us, and yet I wonder if the relational idea does not speak into our lives. 

How can we be emotionally and spiritually supportive of one another as the pandemic and water damage recovery continues? How can we as members of a connectional church be supportive and come alongside a congregation that has flooded facilities? How can we be a bubble of support, encouragement, and love to each other? 

I am reminded of a quote from Margaret Wheatley, writer and management consultant, “The primary way to prepare for the unknown is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know and trust each other.”  

Tod Bolsinger, author and PCUSA minister says, “The qualities that make tenacious, tempered, resilient leaders are ─ from start to finish ─ developed relationally.”    

How are we going to survive and really live in the midst of such difficulty and disconnection? Scripture affirms it over and over again, “love one another.” 

It is up to us to discern how God is calling us to live it out within the context and specificity of our lives. 

Relating Connectionally, 

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Shive serves as interim general presbyter for Grace Presbytery. Prior to his arrival in Texas, he led the Presbytery of Wyoming as general presbyter. Steve is husband of 35 years to Doris, father to Claire and Jordan, and a proud Auburn war eagle.