March 3, 2021
September 11, 2001 changed a great deal about our way of life. A nation that has long valued freedom and has been suspicious of overreach by the government traded in many freedoms in order to have increased security. Who could blame us? When people from within are flying planes into buildings, most people are willing to surrender some individual rights. Even though many vowed at the time that we will not live in fear, we did, and still do. Security at our airports has never gone back to what it used to be, and no one imagines that it ever will.
Covid-19 has also changed a great deal about our way of life, and in many ways, we are not better for it. There have been examples of love, sacrifice, courage, and heroism for sure. However, in the wake of it all, we are a people who are more distant from one another, more suspicious of one another, more critical of one another, more frustrated with one another, and find it easier to walk away, rather than work it out.
Brothers and sisters, I see it all the time. Family events like birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weddings, and funerals, that are critically important times for enjoying and unifying one another, have become occasions for fighting, criticism, and unreasonable demands. For some, it will take years to mend the hurt, if ever. How did this happen? I think that the isolation, while helpful for protecting the spread of Covid, has been terrible for relationships. Personally, I tend to be a loner anyway. I need people more than I realize. What happens in families is a sample of what happens in the church.
I do not want to be misunderstood. I am not taking aim at people who take more precautions, nor am I taking aim at those who take less. I really don’t care where you line up on that spectrum because you have good reasons for where you are. If you have had Covid, or have had the vaccine, I can fully understand why you would take less precautions. If you have a pre-existing condition, or work in the medical field, or have had people close to you die from this virus, I can fully understand why you would take more precautions. I am not saying that one response fits everyone, because it doesn’t. I am saying this: We need to step outside of ourselves and realize the effects that this has had on us and make up our minds to fight against the bad ones.
If you are more disconnected from people now than you were a year ago, what can you do to reconnect? If you are more anxious, discouraged, and less joyful now than a year ago, what can you do to address that? If you find that you spend more time on media (TV, online) now than you did a year ago, how can you cut back and replace that with things that would be good for your soul and someone else’s?
Isolation is not the new norm for our church. Satan’s program is always to divide and conquer. He doesn’t care what he will use to keep us away from one another. But, we are not ignorant of his devices. In fact, we have to make up our minds to fight against them.
Grace and peace,