It’s now been almost three weeks since we were ‘ordered,’ here in the state of Washington, to stay home. Then just last week, we were given an extension to this ‘invitation,’ leaving us home-bound for another four weeks. Never have any of us experienced such a thing nor are we likely (we hope) to experience it again.
After this all goes ‘away,’ and life resumes to normal (or the new normal, whatever that looks like), what will we say “happened” during this time? We will all, no doubt, remember and lament COVID-19’s disruption to our lives, whether it was school or trips cancelled or other important life events postponed. But what will be the positive fruit of sanctification in this unique season? What might the Lord be after in you?
Let’s consider just a few possibilities…
Uncovering of Idols…work, sports, control?
John Calvin famously wrote that our hearts are “idol factories,” and perhaps you’ve seen that more than ever these past weeks? What good things in your life have been exposed as being too significant and influential? For instance, how has your heart handled the loss of control? Or the reduced efficiency and demands of work?
As a sports lover, for years my March and April have been bolstered by two events, March Madness and the Masters golf tournament. While certainly frustrated that they are gone, I’ve noticed that there is less “fog” in my life as my heart is being led by the liturgical calendar to Resurrection Sunday. In that sense, what a gift I’ve been given!!
Laziness…spiritually, physically, relationally?
With the lack of commuting and the absence of a normal school day, our mornings, indeed our entire days, look a bit differently don’t they? Suddenly the demands of the office aren’t crowding out time with the Lord each morning, suddenly the demands of evening homework and sports aren’t crowding out family time around the table and in God’s Word.
Let’s allow this historic time to engrain patterns in our lives, good disciplines, and the nurturing of relationships, that we have too easily and too often put aside.
Greater appreciation for the Church…the fellowship and singing of God’s people, the Lord’s Table?
There are so many good and challenging articles out there these days but I read one the other day that is among my favorites of the last several weeks. It’s written by Tish Harrison Warren, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and it’s entitled, “I Miss Singing at Church.”
She writes; I miss the congregation singing at the church where I’ve served as priest for three years. If I could hear them sing this morning I wouldn’t mind if the person behind me was off key…I miss gathering together, watching the sanctuary slowly fill, hear the soft murmur of the crowd, the trills of children, the coughs, the handshaking, strangers sitting side by side…I miss taking and giving communion. I miss seeing hands after hands cupped open to receive… We must embrace social distancing, for as long as is needed, to protect our health care system and the very real, fleshy bodies of millions of people. But we also need to collectively notice that something profound is lost by having to interact with the world and our neighbors in mostly disembodied, digital ways. This is something to lament and grieve. And like all grief, it exposes the value and glory of the thing that was lost.
While giving thanks to the Lord for what we have been given (through technology), I hope and pray that you are groaning, in your innermost being, for the sanctuary of our God!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord’s work in all these areas of our lives is a wonderful mercy. Perhaps over the next several weeks we need to be more intentional about not only identifying but uprooting these things!
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.