More and more, I come to think that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Today’s first reading from Genesis 23-24, is the story of family life as it plays out from generation to generation: parents dying at an advanced age (Sarah at 127 years – we’re getting closer!), trying to assure acceptable mates for their children—who sometimes moved away finding mates at a distance….
It all makes me think of my mother and what a hard time she had moving from Boston to Upstate New York when my father’s job changed. It took her five months to accustom herself to the idea of moving away from her sisters and friends for a land she did not know. She was 45 years old and she had never lived more than 5 miles from her family. Syracuse, New York was 300 miles away. It was 1960 and It turned out to be a wonderful change for my mother. It was the beginning of the era of such movement and my father was a genius who sent her back “home” three times that first year for weekends so she never lost her connections with her “familiars.”
Life in these United States has certainly changed since then. My brother now lives in San Diego, California—3,000 miles away. Although I long for the rare “in-person” visits, I can be almost satisfied when we “zoom” on the weekends with my sister and sister-in-law.
As I reflect on these changes, I consider the shifts in faith practice as well. I have not been to Church in over a year—due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am a child of my era, after all. Most of us zoom our spiritual practices these days, and the question is whether we will ever return to “in-person” worship. In this world of “artificial intelligence” and impending trips to the moon (!) who can tell whether we will soon out-live Sarah’s 127 years…. What I think I know now is that I will continue to need person-to-person connection going forward. That is the way I find best to encounter God. If I should someday in the future see God “in the flesh,” I presume I will be transformed! Until that day, I shall keep my computer revved up (regardless of my complaints!) and continue to strive for moments of love and peace and joy coming from everything that has meaning in each moment of time.