My childhood home had one of those rooms with nice draperies, inviting end tables, lamps and a large couch in which no one to my memory ever sat. It was not for regular family use. Christmas morning, sure, parties, yes, but on a normal day to day basis no one sat in that large front room of the home. There was no TV there, no table to gather around but on one of the side tables there was a large Bible. It was one of those ridiculously large family Bibles that no one ever used.
Locked in, shut down, confined to our homes, consuming too much TV while eating comfort food and longing for fresh air and time away from the children. It is enough to make us crazy and finally understand what “cabin fever” is really like. But then again, this is not exactly how its playing out. People go out. They may not go down to the bar or out to eat at a restaurant, but people still go out. They go out for what are deemed essential services, places that stay open amid a pandemic.
While people are scrambling to cancel everything to avoid spreading this damned disease, pastors and laypeople are debating whether or not cancelling an in-person church service is wise or even faithful. First of all, and most wonderfully, no one, no disease, no calamity, no Devil or demons can cancel Jesus or His Church. He reigns just as powerfully and affectively as ever!
She gripped the pink and yellow remains with both tiny hands. A little corner stuck out just above her thumb where she nervously bit to calm down. Ripping tearing thrashing by her own hand, the anxiety was too much to keep inside. That faded fabric barley covered her trembling body. But the routine of it all comforted her. The familiar weight of embrace relaxed her tension. The panic that attacks eventually loosened its hands from inside her throat. She could breathe again.
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14). Most scholars believe this line used by St. Paul is part of an ancient baptismal hymn. You can imagine it being sung out by a gathering of the people of God as the newly baptized rises from the water. Its poetic words form a call to a new life, a life free from the terrors of the grave, free from futility and aimless wandering. Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
A wet, warm breeze blew the last of the raindrops across the sky. After an hour of drizzling darkness, the clouds began to glow a shade lighter. Even though the sound of the rushing drains fooled my mind into thinking it was still raining, my dry cheeks informed me differently. The thunderstorm was over, and the blue sky began to push through the grey. It was just after 4 pm and I knew it was time. The hunt was on.
One of the things we can all learn from this pandemic is how insanely connected our world is. An outbreak in Wuhan China can spread with frightening speed around the globe, shutting down whole countries and grinding international commerce to a halt. It is commerce that we need, commerce that plays with the stock market, which plays with our retirement plans, which effects our stress levels, which causes anxiety and fear. So, we stay home, but in staying home we fail to read a book or play card games with the family, no we turn on the internet and read the global news as we text our friends and facetime with our family members. We are bound up in the lives of others in ways never imagined a decade or so ago. We are more connected, more dependent, more aware of a world far outside of ourselves than ever before.