Those Were The Good Ole Days!
When my daughter, Sarah, was a baby we said she smiled with her eyes. She would play a game with my dad trying not to smile. She would cover her mouth but it was obvious by the sparkle in her eyes that she was smiling! I thought of this the other day when I was grumbling about the masks covering up smiles! Then I remembered I just have to look at things differently. I need to look at the people’s eyes and you know what? I started noticing people smiling and it made me smile! I like the thoughts of back when we could see people smile - back in the good ole days - two months ago!
While we have learned that we can connect hearts to Christ and one another whether people are in church or in their living room,I believe we need the relationship of sitting next to each, worshiping and praising God together. I believe we can agree that there are things we have taken for granted: handshakes; hugs; the gift of teachers and healthcare workers; crowded restaurants; a well stocked store with all of God’s provisions including toilet paper and hand sanitizer; open marinas; visiting a friend; visiting the hospital; visiting an assisted living facility; comforting a family by attending a funeral; going to a wedding; just going to visit a friend; taking the Sacraments of Holy Communion; the communion with our small groups; our congregation; listening to the whole church singing praise to God (this makes me tear up just thinking about); a packed parking lot at church and a crowded church! Those were the good ole days!
Another thing I am refocusing on is missing my church family. While I miss my church family, I am focusing on the great reunion! In our staff meetings we have been talking a lot about how we are experiencing a spiritual hunger and thirst for our time together. So many things we have taken for granted including just going to church every Sunday! Oh, how I miss it! But God is teaching us so many things right now! We must trust Him. He sees the big picture and He has the perfect plan! I cannot wait until we have Communion in communion with each other! I bet there will be a new appreciation, grateful hearts and tears of joy! People need their church family!
I think back to September 11, 2001 when our churches were full. After Hurricane Florence our churches were full. Others may not notice but oftentimes when something major is happening in our lives, we flock to church! The Bible tells us how the Israelites struggled and mourned not being able to go to the Temple. Like them, we long to be back together in worship. Crises often lead to revival. People realize they need God and turn to His church for answers and words of hope! This could be a marvelous harvest season! Let’s pray for revival and for God to move in the hearts of people! Let’s pray for believers and non-believers to hunger for true community! Acts 5: 14 came after persecution, “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
So what should we take away from this time of social distancing? Let’s remember to thank God for this time in which we will lean on Him more and trust Him more which will grow us in our faith. As Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” As David said in Psalm 34: 1, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.“
As my pastor says most Sundays, “I pray that we will be challenged, changed and never get over it!” Let’s pray harder, love more and truly appreciate all of God’s abundance poured on our lives that we took for granted just a few weeks ago!