What a confusing time! I have been looking for some civility, some grace, some sense of unity. We are faced with Pandemic conditions which may or may not be exaggerated, but the fact still is that people are dying from the disease. No one can minimize the disease attending the funeral of a loved one. Yet, the hatred and debates continue. Personally, I do not think anyone could have predicted or managed this pandemic to prevent the spread and the deaths.
The confusion is rife in our political system. The sides are drawn so strictly that the question is begged, “Where are the Americans?” We have Democrats and we have Republicans, but where are the Americans? Accusations are thrown by both, hatred is intensified, misinformation is rampant. Where are the Americans?
In the midst of this the church is being challenged. Individual Christians are being challenged. So much of what constituted our way of life has been changed. Conferences, large evangelistic meetings, small groups, church fellowship gatherings, special events, all have been canceled or altered. The greetings, handshakes, hugs, close circles of conversation are all approached with wariness now.
Spirituality is being tested. What constituted your relationship with the Lord? The question really is, “How deep are your roots?” “What are you rooted in?” Are we trees planted by the living waters or are we distant from the waters. This is a time when we have to dig deeper to maintain and improve our spirituality. It will require some of the following: 1) Reading the Bible more or regularly, 2) Meditating on the word just read, 3) Praying for the multitude of needs 4) Reading books that encourage your faith, 5) Finding prayer books that have written prayers in them that can be read out loud or meditated upon, (This is particularly good for those who have a hard time praying or getting started) 6) Listening to worship music, 7) Being faithful in church attendance as able, 8) Keep giving. I am sure there are other disciplines that can help, but these can be starters.
I find that reading smaller passages of scripture and then pondering on them helps more than reading long passages. I think it is good to read whole books for continuity and sensing the big picture, but smaller ponderings are helpful for growing intimate with the Lord. Sometimes great revelations can come in those moments. Too, there may be an internal voice that addresses something personal.
It is important that believers, the church, the Christian withdraw from the vitriolic postings and opinions and become salt and light, not matches and gasoline. Civility, grace, and kindness are accepted everywhere. The Golden Rule works universally. The hard teachings of Jesus are needed right now in the form of going the extra mile, carrying the extra load, return a soft answer when attacked by hatred, turn the other cheek; all these are hard, but the people of the Lord must be different.
Reading in the Gospel of John this week, again I came across the statement of Jesus that sets us totally apart. He said, “They will know you are my disciples because you love one another.” Being loving is the answer that is needed and Jesus is the source.