FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK………………….
One of the terms I have heard used to describe our current reality is that we are walking through a COVID wilderness. I think it was Pastor Bill Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky synod, that I first heard this term from, and it has become a rich metaphor that brings a helpful perspective to living during a global pandemic.
This experience, shared by everyone on the planet, is truly a watershed moment. Our lives will never be the same as they were before this virus appeared.
Just so, the watershed event in the life of Israel was the Exodus. They had been slaves in Egypt for four hundred thirty years; in one night that all changed forever. Because of the tenth plague, the death of the first born, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt begged the Israelites to leave. They left Egypt that very day and their lives were never the same again.
What they hadn’t counted on was the forty years of wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. During that time, they were completely dependent upon God (and Moses) to provide them with food and water, which is what God did. But not without a ton of grumbling and complaining on the part of the people. And the menu only had three items on it: manna, quail and water.
The other problem they faced was that they had no idea how long this wilderness time would last, which made it even more difficult to live through. My mom always told me that you can get through anything you can see the end of. For the Israelites, there was no end in sight.
Just so, we are living in a COVID wilderness time and things will never be the same again after this experience. Like the Israelites, we do not know when this time will be over and we are painfully aware of all the things we cannot do – all the things that are simply not on the menu right now – and it is maddening.
It is human nature to focus on the things that are wrong, the things that are dangerous in our lives. It is one of the reasons we’re still alive; we’ve learned to avoid or defend ourselves from things that threaten our well-being. As handy as this attribute is, it also makes it difficult to see the good things that are going on and the freedom we still have in the midst of this pandemic which puts so many constraints on our activity.
I know that it’s so very difficult to continue to live with such a watchful eye kept on NOT infecting each other with this terrible virus, but it is also so tremendously important that we all do our part.
And as awful as it must have been having nothing to eat except for unseasoned manna and quail for forty years, it did, in fact, sustain a nation. So eat up! Get creative with it! We won’t be at this for forty years and we do, in fact, have a plethora of seasonings, so chin up, little buckaroo. We will get through this together. And along the way let us give a little more time giving thanks for what we do have instead of getting stuck whining about what we don’t have. I’m sorry, filet mignon and lobster aren’t on the menu, metaphorically speaking, so you can’t have that yet. But won’t they taste delicious when this is all over?
Peace and joy in Christ, Pastor Darby
FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK………………….