We all know that during the pandemic we are in a time of crisis. Everything we know has been turned upside down. Our narrative of what we are comfortable with has taken a new direction. It has been difficult and for some even painful to be physically distanced, to remain safe and continually be mindful of the others. However, kindness and compassion are vitally important attributes to share with one another in these days. We are all in this together. No one is alone. As we enter the last week of the Easter season, let us remember Christ’s resurrection power is for all. May we sow its hopefulness abundantly throughout our day.
In our Monday evening book study discussion group, we are reading The Book of Joy. I am amazed to see the joy that comes through the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. Both have had to deal with traumatic situations in life. Exile and disruption, apartheid and racism, yet they choose joy as a way of life. Where are you seeing joy, was the question to begin the discussion? Many answers came in the form of joy of family and milestones of defending dissertations. Watching springtime through nature, birds hatching and even caring for people in need. Where are you seeing joy in your day? How is Christ’s resurrection power helping you? Where is God’s love coming to life?
Jesus modeled for us a life of kindness and compassion filled with joy. He endured the difficulties of life, suffered, died and rose from the dead. Jesus was abandoned, but he has never left us through the gift of the Holy Trinity. Let us look around amid the pandemic and see the joy that surrounds us, where God’s love is coming to life.
Christ’s Blessings & Peace,
Years ago, I read something that sounds kind of odd: "The reason mountain climbers are tied together is to keep the sane ones from going home. Whoever said that was spoofing a bit. Anybody knows mountain climbers are tied together to keep from getting lost or going over a cliff. But there's another piece of truth here. When things get tough up on that mountain, when fear sets in, many a climber is tempted to say, "This is absurd! I'm going home."
The life of faith can be like that--doubts set in, despair overwhelms; and the whole notion of believing in God seems absurd. Jesus knew his followers would have days like that. So he said you all are tied together like branches on the vine-or like climbers tied to the rope-tied together by the Spirit, to trust in One who is always more than we can understand, to keep us moving ahead on the journey of faith, to encourage us when believing seems absurd.
Every generation faces new questions and perplexities. Does the sun revolve around or vice versa? Should nuclear weapons ever be used against an enemy? Is welfare the best way to bear one another's burdens? Jesus knew there were things sacred writings didn't address, things he had never talked about. But he added, "The Spirit will be your tutor, guiding you into all the truth."
We're in some pretty perplexing times, sticking close to home, physically untethered for fear of catching the virus. But, we are still tied together in Jesus. We feel a tug on the rope whenever we are tempted to settle for answers that make more sense but cannot give life. We feel the Spirit's guiding when we have lost our way and question the path we should take while staying connected to each other in Christ Jesus.
We've got a mountain before us. Grab the lifeline. Hold fast to God's Word.
Worship. Pray. Hang on. Wash your hands. Stay home.
In a world where we are continually barraged with discouraging news, and as of this week, a whole slough of conspiracy theories, it can be hard to spot the places where God's love, hope, and grace are abounding. Sometimes though, God has a way of hitting you in the face and showing up in your email box to take you on a little journey to show you where God is dwelling. That's what happened to me this week.
Early in the week I received an email. Actually, early this week I received a LOT of email...wowza! It's like people suddenly remembered that email is a thing. Anyway, this particular email came from someone I don't often receive emails from--it was one of our 8th grade confirmation students. In his email, he told me about a little project he's been working on. During his time at home he has been building bird houses, and he would like to donate them to some care facilities in the area. He was wondering if I had any ideas on what facilities he could contact, and if I had contact information for specific people there (it just so happens I have both of those!).
Ya'll. This is an EIGHTH grader! Let's be honest, there are a LOT of things he could be doing with his time at home. We are living in a time when young people have countless ways to connect with one another via different social media apps, and countless Disney content to consume on Disney+, not to mention any other streaming service out there. But this gentleman has chosen to get to work building bird houses to share with local nursing homes and care facilities. He's caring for creation AND doing something to spark joy in the lives of people who were an isolated group even before we began social distancing. This is God's love coming to life! This 8th grader is doing God's work of bringing the Kingdom of God to the here and now!
So...remember how he asked me if I had contacts for people? One of the people I thought to get him connected with was one of our dear CtK members who is the president of the resident's association at a local senior living community. This particular member is a vivacious, servant-hearted, faithful child of God who continually inspires me to keep on serving God and others no matter my age or what happens in life. So...I called her to see if I could share her contact information with this student.
Over the course of our conversation, this kindhearted woman shared with me the things that she's been working on during our time of physical distancing. Part of her day includes spending 4, yes, FOUR hours a day at her sewing machine making masks for people. Now, that might not come off as an impressive number of hours, but I have to be honest with you...I don't remember the last time I did any one thing for 4 hours straight, nonetheless something that requires cutting, ironing, and paying attention to fine details. I was pretty impressed by this.
So where are all these masks going? She's recruited 4 other women (all over 90, by the way) to join her in making them, and they are giving them to the staff of their LARGE facility they are living in. Mind you, these 5 women rarely get to connect with one another in person because of changes in procedure in their facility, so they have had to become pretty innovative in the way they work with one another.
Now, somewhere along the line, the staff of the care facility requested a different style of masks. Rather than getting discouraged by this, our dear Ctk member and her group of sewing angels got busy sewing this new style. Their one request: before staff get one of these new masks, they turn in their old one. Not to recycle the fabric, but so this group of 5 women over 90 can make arrangements for the 1st set of masks to be sent to Pillars and be distributed to those who are experiencing housing insecurity during this devastating time.
Ya'll. God showed up in my email box and at the other end of my phone this week. Through these two faithful members of CtK, God's love is certainly coming to life to bring hope, joy, grace, and reminders that God IS still here working among us even when things seem grim.
Peace be the journey,