Fun fact- I was recently ordained in April but du to COVID the official ceremony has been postponed. I had the privilege of writing a blog for my Church this weekend and I wanted to share it with you.
Masks, no masks, COVID numbers, unemployment, all of these things can feel absolutely overwhelming. Recently I went to the grocery store, mask on my face and plastic gloves in tow. As someone who is immuno-compromised I now do nearly all our grocery shopping online and do not travel outside our home very often. This was actually my first time going to the grocery shopping in nearly 5 months-and boy was I in for an education! Firstly, the panic buying was non existent as it was the last time I ventured out. Then there were “6 feet apart” social distancing stickers and arrows on the floor telling me which direction I was allowed to traverse the store in. I got it wrong half the time going down the isle the ‘wrong way’ and the constant thought of staying away from everyone in the store all while trying to get a gallon of milk was mildly stressful. But you know what? I managed to survive, and just like everyone in the store, we were getting used to a new type of normal.
I fully understand that this was not what we signed up for in 2020. Currently my job description is mom, wife, janitor, nurse, occupational therapist, teacher, supply manager and ordained minister. I know that we just ‘want things to go back to normal’. Here is the thing, if we are constantly looking back to what once was and not focusing on what is before us, are we making an idol out of ‘normal’? The Israelites were told to trust the Lord (during plagues mind you) and leave everything they knew in order to worship The Lord (Exodus 6:6). You know what some of them did in the desert? They whined because they wanted things to ‘go back to normal’. The children of Israel literally experienced people dying due to plagues or sin (Exodus 12), and yet there were some complaining about how back in Egypt they at least had better food (Numbers 11:5).
I challenge you today to not look back to ‘normal’ and look forward to the unknown. We can get so easily discouraged in our prayer life by thinking ‘if only church was open I’d be a better Christian’. Can I tell you something that may be surprising – The Church is not closed- the doors just look different. Our doors are digital and they are reaching so much further than we could have ever imagined! Instead of going into the foyer and the greeting them joyfully welcoming you in the church, you go onto your phone or computer and our hosts joyfully greet you when you sign on. You know what is also incredible? We have virtual prayer meetings every Tuesday and Thursday at noon and Holy Spirit is just as palpable through our phones as if we were all physically together.
Do you still want to meet with your church family during the week? Connect with your local church and see what they are offering for small groups in this Covid era. Because the way the world is now you have a plethora of choices from multiple churches on small groups online-including ours. We still offer life groups that meet virtually and gave great conversations about the previous Sunday service.
I know things are different right now and we do not know what tomorrow will hold- but I know who holds tomorrow. Remember we are still in this together and the Body of Christ is not defined by a building but by lives changed by The Gospel and the power of Holy Spirit!