The staff at Central has been splitting up the Tuesday and Friday postings on Facebook, to give each of us a chance to share what the Lord has been putting on our heart. I wish I had great words to share, or optimism, or a silver lining, but I just haven’t been feeling that all that much recently.
I am not going to say that the position I am in, or my family is in, is especially bad compared to what many other people are facing, but I don’t like it. I don’t especially like the life that COVID has created for so many of us. We are having people in our congregation lose loved ones. We are having people feel a very real sense of loss, as they can’t engage with family and friends like they used to. We are all feeling a sense of loss of some of the things that we used to enjoy. I have heard it say that this is an opportunity to let go and to remember what it is that is most important in life. I don’t really feel that, I mostly feel sad.
But even more than what I mentioned, I really feel the loss for our church community not being able to gather together, and really having no ideal when we will be able to gather again and what that might look like. I really appreciated on Sunday how Pastor Joel compared our current situation to that of Israel wandering in the desert. We have lost what we had before COVID, we are currently in the period of wandering, and on the other side will be something new that we have been delivered to by the Lord. The wandering is not always an enjoyable place to be. We can take comfort, that just as the Lord provided daily manna to the people of Israel, the Lord will provide our needs in this time, but we will be missing specific parts of what it means to be in community. But we are still missing what we had (even with all its flaws) and we struggle to hold out for what is to come. The grumbling by Israel in the desert makes sense to me. A most human of all stories. And that was 40 years, we have just passed 40 days.
Eventually we will get out of the desert, eventually we will gather once again, all of us, together in fellowship and to worship the Lord. We can look forward to that day. In the interim, the Lord will provide what it is that we need. Once thing I do appreciate about the story of manna in the desert, is that it appeared every morning, no matter what the people of Israel felt that day – whether they were excited for the manna, whether they were obedient, whether they were grumpy, whether they were not exactly in the most worshipful mentality. Every day, the Lord provided what was needed, and pretty much nothing else. So it will be for us, the Lord will provide for us what we need each day, whether we fully embrace it or not. And I suppose that is enough for now.