March 24, 2020
My thoughts are racing like Grand Central Station. It is amazing how a crisis can change your perspective. I became aware of a word this week that is being used. Upended. It means the same as “our world has been turned upside down.” Touching replaced with social distancing; gatherings limited to less than ten. Date night turns from dine-out to drive-through. Forget the movies. Not sure if fist bumps and touching elbows violate social distance policy. A new traveling companion--a canister of wipes to clean my hands. Limiting contact by staying and working at home. If not for the fact I can get fresh air on the farm, my home could feel like solitary confinement. I am kindly aware of the emerging sense of loneliness. Of missing, of being around people who I long to see. I call, I pray, I text, email, and have brief encounters. It’s not adequate.
Then sometime surfaces, a question, why am I doing this? The answer surprises me: because I care. Because we care for one another, we are doing these things to help one another. Separation is helping contain the spread of this virus, not just for you and me, but our community, our state, our nation, our world to save lives.
We are working together, focusing on what we can do individually to help protect our hospital workers, leaders, each other, and people we don’t even know. We are coming together. We all long for this to end, timing unknown. What to do? Let’s practice the Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Let us model God’s love by our actions. It will be challenging. I am starting to recognize in the simplest of ways, its hard to wash your hands, not touch your face with your hands and keep six to ten feet of separation. Thank God for the inside of the elbow’s valley, at least I can scratch my nose. Oops, just scratched my nose with my fingers. Off to the sink.
March 17, 2020
If you haven’t thought of the question yet, I will ask it…how long?
I am sure it was a question Job asked.
Job 7:3 says, "So I have been allotted months of futility, and wearisome nights have been appointed to me." We don’t know how long Job had to suffer, but we do know that it was a time of learning and Job trusting in God. Later Job would say “Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me (Job 23:2).
As I listen to the CDC reports, I have asked the question: How long will it be before we can gather again to worship and fellowship. I would love a definite answer, but I know it would be speculation. Yet, most people don’t like living in the unknown or in the realm of uncertainty. As your pastor, I want to be realistic. My current feeling is if we get to gather in early May, we will be blessed. Yes, it sounds like a long time to go without seeing the people we enjoy being around. In truth, I am already missing you all. How long? We don’t know, but I am learning it is creating in me a sense of expectation or I can wait to see you again. It’s true: loneliness makes the heart grow fonder.
Job teaches us an important lesson; we know that God is watching over us. Because of this thought, you and I can rest in God’s peace. He will never leave you and will always watch over you.
Prayer: Lord, may I rest in your peace and presence. Let my thoughts turn to people I miss and love. I long to see them again in your time. Until that moment, help me to know you are watching over me even as I ask the question, How Long? I will pray that those days will be lessen as a prayer for the healing of our nation. Amen.