For 17 March 2020: Third Tuesday of Lent
For Tuesday, 17 March 2020: Third Tuesday of Lent
Read: Psalm 104
It was odd this morning on the front porch. Folks were out walking dogs, jogging, and riding bikes. But it was odd; no one was jumping in the car and driving off to work. There’s a near clockwork rhythm to the neighborhood in the morning. First this one comes by with the dog, then that one gets in the car to head for work. Ten minutes later this gaggle walk by with their dogs and coffee. Thirty minutes later children and running for the bus or walking to school. Every day is nearly the same. There’s a comfort to that regular rhythm of the neighborhood. But today, it wasn’t the same.
People still walked dogs jogged and rode bikes. The garbage men still came by to pick-up the trash and recycling. Some cars even left about the same time as they normally do. Yet it was different. Children and youth weren’t running to catch the bus, walking to school, or gunning their cars because they were late for school. The dull roar from the near-by middle school wasn’t hanging in the air. Today, the stillness and strangeness began to settle.
Yet, as we are all adjusting to these temporary ways of being, the sun is shining bright and full. The trees continue to show the promise of Spring about to explode. The tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are pushing through the crust of the soil. Ducks have migrated to the ponds on which they will raise their young and courtship rituals have begun. The tree sap is running, being collected, and waiting to be boiled into syrup. We are having to learn new ways to interact; it feels awkward. There is no awkwardness or strange stillness for the trees, flowers, and ducks. They simply get on with being trees, flowers, and ducks.
Psalm 104 reminds us of the amazing wonder of creation and of God’s provision for us. Part of that provision is the very nature of how God has made us and creation: renewable. God renews with the gift of the spirit (Psalm 104:30 NRSV). Even in these days which seem awkward and uncomfortable to us, God’s renewal is available to us through the Spirit. Even in days of awkward silence and uncertainty about even how to greet each other, we are still called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Is being a disciple of Jesus any different now than it was before COVID-19?
The trees, flowers, and ducks don’t know how to be anything other than what they are. So, what are we? We are human beings with all the same fears, hopes, and dreams which other people have. We are disciples of Jesus Christ who are human beings with fears, hopes, and dreams. It is God’s Spirit which speaks those same words Jesus gave to his disciples to us, too: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b NRSV). No matter our circumstance, there also is God. If we find ourselves on the top of the mountain or in the deepest of valleys, there also is God. No matter how unsettled out patterns have become, no matter the amount of adjustment we are having to make, no matter the awkwardness of the situation, there also is God struggling with us and love us, “… to the end of the age.”