Do you have what you need for the long journey?
Some time last year, I preached a sermon in which I said something like, “We may wish to go back to the time before the pandemic, but there is no going back. We will not go back to what was.”
Those words have been repeating in my head lately. As we head into September and COVID surges, all I want is to go back. I keep hoping to turn a corner and everything is back to the way it was. Everything is back to “normal.”
But there is no going back to what was. And there is no knowing what the future will bring. There is only here and now and following the Spirit’s lead. This is a long haul. This is a long wilderness.
Do you have what you need for the journey?
These are some of the things I am striving to pack in my kit each morning:
1. Gentleness with myself and with others.
2. Honest and vulnerable conversations with people I deeply trust. Scared? Angry? Bitter? Rather than letting those thoughts fester and grow, speak them to someone who can hold them in compassion and wisdom, and if there is not another person, there is God. Which leads me to….
3. Prayer. Seek with an open heart what God has for us in this wilderness. And throw your anxieties on God!
4. Give Thanks and Laugh. Because the joy of the Lord is our strength!
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a whole lotta other things I discover I’ve packed away in that kit, too: anxiety, frustration, apathy, judgmental thoughts toward myself and others, fear and sometimes just a general sense of “can I go outside and scream?” But the more I pack up my kit with what sustains me, the more I notice what is weighing me down and can take them out of the pack. Even if I need to be reminded each day.
So here’s your check-in: What are you packing? What are you carrying with you and what are you setting down?
We will need to be sustained for this long journey. We will need to continue to wait, hope and renew. And my hope, people of God, is that we will keep doing this together. We will gather in worship, whether online or in-person. We will weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. We will reach out together for the “upward call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Because ultimately, when it comes right down to it, we need our God to sustain us while we walk. Let’s keep walking together.
Peace be with you,