Proverbs 16: 3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Do you find yourself wafting between these two verses like I do? One day it feels like everything is going right and then the next day…the Plague of Frogs has descended on our plans. One minute we are rejoicing in the sun and then next day we are grumbling when we see our newly planted pansies covered and frozen in snow. One day we were all rejoicing in worship and then the next day we were trying to figure out how to log on to FaceBook just to see a familiar face…and FaceBook needs a password.
Make a plan and watch God laugh, they say. That doesn’t sound much like the proverbial success that we were planning on, does it? I sometimes that if I hear one more person say, “This is the new normal” I will just sit down and…and…and what? Scream? Cry? Laugh until I cry?
We know that we want to “get back to” where we left off on March 16. And we know that we can’t. So, then, what do we do? In this time of lament and laughter we do need to re-group and go back to what we were working on and look to the Lord in our commitments. Look to the Lord in our questions, curiosities and hesitations. Look to the Lord in all that we were doing so that we know how to ask, “Have you forsaken me…or strengthened me?”
During a time of mediation this week God reminded me through that still small voice that I have the tools that it takes to get through whatever comes my way. Tools to think deeply, reflect mightily and ask myself the tough questions. And one of those tools is indeed the ability to lament. It is also the ability to laugh at the smallest of blessings…especially the still small voice that guides me. As we go forward let me remind you that it is OKAY to lament…and then laugh. Though these two verses seem to be the ones that I find myself reciting almost daily, the one that bubbles up from within the lament is Ecclesiastes 3, “There is a time for every season under the sun.” Right now we make plans and watch God laugh. That’s our season, and I am here with you…right smack dab in the middle of it with you, lament and laughter and all.
1 Thessalonians 2:17 (NRSV) “As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face.”
Oh how we long to see one another…and we wait for that day when we can once again join TOGETHER in worship, meal and celebration!
Knowing that our community needed to “keep our spirits up” until that time, Bill (the Mayor) and I (the Minister) came up with the idea for a “positivity” campaign. With the help of Junction7 we have been able to plaster our “Together we can do this!” signs all over Red Lodge and those signs are now finding their way across the country. (Please note that this was a personal endeavor and we are funding it through our own donations and those from the community, not the city or the church.)
While this campaign came out of a sense of relationship and community, I can’t help but see the spiritual connections that are celebrated as well. First, we followed a nudge to talk about this as a possibility (ok, so we talk for hours on end every day…so that’s not a stretch), but when this idea “clicked” it was at the very same moment. The nudge had done her work yet again.
We are all longing for a return to our “place” of worship and celebration. We are yearning to be reunited with friends and family, a “yearn to return,” if you will, to what we once knew. “Longing with great eagerness” as Paul put it, to see each other face to face. In the meantime, we are blessed with the technology of Facebook, FaceTime and other social media platforms to “see” each other as best we can.
Some of the conveniences of those technologies will continue long after the “Stay at Home” orders are lifted. Some of the discoveries about quiet reflection time, long walks and home cooked meals will become our new normal. Some of the delightful things that we’ve discovered under the guise of being sequestered for long afternoons we will then yearn for when our doors are once again open to the public.
Separation creates a yearning of the heart that brings us together in a way that is challenging, especially when we do not have an end date. So as we continue this time apart, we know that “Together we can do this!” Together in thought, prayer and technology. Together in our yearning and in our new discoveries. Together in our hearts, minds and souls.
Together with you in every way,
Red Lodge Community Church - A place where Spirit and so much more happens!
308 S. Broadway
Red Lodge, Montana