For Father’s Day, Jordan and I bicycled west on the Canalway Trail. The weather was perfect - sunshine, mid 70’s, low humidity. Per usual, the view was breathtaking.

We stopped to rehydrate and relax at the park in the community of Jordan before continuing toward Weedsport. When the trail became highway instead of towpath, we turned around and started back.

Not long after that my cell phone rang. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad!” It was Rachel, still in California until mid-July. “Tell me if you can understand me,” she continued. “My phone hasn’t been working right, and I’m here at the Verizon store getting it fixed.” After I assured her that reception was much improved, we talked. To make a long story short, the result was that it was almost like having Rachel along for the ride. And, while there certainly are questionable aspects of cell phone usage (e.g. people so busy texting that they fail to even notice those of us right next to them), there are aspects which nurture relationships and build community. Moreover, the experience reminded me of something quite obvious but sometimes easily forgotten– i.e. how important it is for us all to know that people about whom we care are thinking of us, even when we are apart.

I mention that now because we enter the season of being apart. Many of us will be away for the summer. Many about whom we care will be in our hearts and minds but not in our presence on Sunday morning. Are there effective ways, then, of reminding one another that out of sight does not mean out of mind (a cell phone call in the middle of worship is probably not the way to handle this, but what is)? How we can be present to and with one another in spite of distance?

I hope that raising these questions is enough to prompt your practice of some favorite techniques. And don’t hesitate to share with me and with each other how you make it happen.