In March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, life as we knew it in the United States changed. And to be frank with you, I do not think we are ever going back to exactly the way it was before. I have heard Pastors and spiritual leaders talk about how all the “idols” of our land have gone down. Those idols were Hollywood, Broadway, sports, Las Vegas, entertainment, travel, bars, restaurants, coffeeshops…and organized church on Sunday mornings.
I sit and listen to some pastors embracing this season and adjusting the way we do church to accommodate this new reality. Many are reaching people that have left our churches, are skeptical of the church or don’t believe in God. We are no longer only speaking to the faithful in the room, but to those without faith in God or the church. God is doing a much bigger thing through the church right now than we were able to do before. Still other pastors are fighting for their right to congregate and waiting for this to be over so we can get back to normal. “I believe”? Normal has changed. If God allowed the way we do church to go down with all the other “idols”, we must admit there probably was some idolatry in the church?
I think we need to be prepared to not congregate for some time. I suspect at least 6 months. As Governors are trying to re-open our states and economies, the very last thing that will open up is our ability to congregate. Without a cure or vaccination for this virus, we aren’t going to put 100,000 people in a football stadium or 1,000 people in a sanctuary. I would challenge all of us to quickly embrace this new reality and “surrender to the season”. My pastor has said for years, “this too shall pass”. And, it will, but will we benefit from this season or fight it the whole way through?
Here are some things I see happening:
- Family – Although many families are struggling with kids at home and online school and kids social distancing from their friends, there is a silver lining. God is working on the core unit of society by giving families time with each other. We will probably see unprecedented pregnancies and births in this season as families flourish and grow.
- Nature is being replenished – with the shutdown of factories, pollution in many areas is being cleaned up and there are beautiful pictures of nature that can be seen right now. Wildlife in some areas are taking back territory as humans are not traveling much right now.
- Organic – it seems the only thing open is Lowe’s and Home Depot. People are flocking to get garden supplies and to work on their yards. People are getting back to living off the land and getting their hands dirty. People are picking up new skills that they would have hired someone for but are now doing it themselves.
- Outdoor activities – most people are outside in the sunlight more than they have been in a long time. They are exercising and hiking and riding bikes.
- Simplicity – life is more uncertain than ever, but people are investing in the basics again and have cut out much of the “non-essential” activities and services we once relied on.
- Spirituality – as uncertainty prevails people are asking eternal questions not just daily ones. With creation so loud and bright right now, those who never had their eye on God, at least have the Creator in the peripheral view for the first time.
In a season marked by death, fear and anxiety, there is also some wonderful opportunities to LIVE…to grow and change and become something more than we have ever been before. For the first time I am planting a garden and built a fire pit. I bought a drill and am building some stuff. Tina and I have downsized our living space, needs and bills. When you watch the news, you see all the negative sides of this season, but I think there are ways for us to grow and benefit too, if we will quickly “surrender to the season”.