There is an old joke;
Why are soldiers always tired on April 1st?
Because they just finished a march of 31 days.
I hope that brought you a bit of a chuckle, but I think that March 2020 seemed to last a lot longer than 31 days and we are all pretty tired.
If you are like me, every day at 3:00 you likely stopwhat you are doing to watch the daily update from Dr Henry. In some ways it’s with a grim interest like when we slow down as we drive past a car accident, but in other ways it reminds us to continue to take care and watch for the turning of the tide and the flattening of the curve.
This current crisis is both local and global. It’s affecting the whole world, but the world is made up of individuals. Every positive test, every death, affects individual people and families. Every lay-off, every isolation affects individuals and families. The effects are far beyond COVID19; families and friends can’t gather for weddings or funerals. New grandparents can’t hold, or even sometimes see their newborn grandchildren. We can take heart at the small victories while we express condolences to those who are sick,and the families of those who have died during this pandemic. The rules about social distancing, in place to try to minimize the spread of the virus, mean that many people can’t even mourn properly.
Now Easter is coming, very quickly.
We just had Palm Sunday without a parade of children. That was another difference from what we are used to. There are a lot of differences from normal but we can use this time and these experiences to let God meet us in new ways. As Pastor Dave said in the communion meditation, new wine requires new wineskins which may be represented by new ways of doing things. I still find it odd watching the worship and the message online. The interaction with the rest of the congregation and with the pastor and worship team is missing. But I’m sure they find it even more odd, speaking and singing into a camera, absent the interaction from each other and us. Let’s take time to thank them for what they are doing. I’m finding the worship and messages to be very uplifting. The God we serve is worthy of our worship in all circumstances.
By now it’s probably sinking in that this will take a while to get through and at the end nothing will be as it was before. There have even been suggestions of a second wave in fall.
We all need to negotiate our way through this – together, not with resignation, but with resolution. By looking to the saviour who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to continue to rest his peace on us. By asking each other for help when we need it, and by giving help when it’s needed.
In the novel “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” the guide itself is much like our smartphones and tablets with more information and news at our fingertips than we could ever use. But the most important part of the guide was probably the back cover which simply and boldly stated “don’t panic”. I set that image on my phone wallpaper right near the start of the year, before most of us in North America had even heard of COVID19. It’s turned into a reminder every time I pick up my phone.
The apostle Paul put it slightly differently in the letter to the Philippians “Do not be anxious for anything”. We know where our peace comes from.
In the meantime, let’s try to keep things as normal as practical.
If you normally get dressed up for church, get dressed up Sunday morning, even though you are just watching on line.
If you like to go out for lunch on Sunday, order takeout or delivery from somewhere. Try to select local restaurants or at least independent franchisees rather than major chains as they need the support more.
Look outside (or if you can, go outside) and notice the spring flowers and trees starting to bud.
If you like to meet people for coffee, schedule a time when you both make a cup of coffee and visit over FaceTime or zoom.
Take the extra time you undoubtedly have and spend it with Jesus.
Remember those who don’t have FaceTime or zoom and give them a call.