Then he turned to the crowd: “When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, ‘Storm’s coming’—and you’re right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, ‘This’ll be a hot one’—and you’re right. You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now.~Luke 12-54-56, excerpted from The Message Bible
THE STORM COMES WITH WIND AND HEAT
The winds of change came upon us, and suddenly – like the snap of Thanos’s fingers – all of us have entered into a new season.
All pursuits and undertakings came to an abrupt halt. Schools closed. Proms, weddings and graduations postponed. Spring break and vacations cancelled. Restaurants, movie theaters, malls, stores, parks, sporting events closed. Cities and parks shut down. Public gatherings for worship and fellowship suspended.
As the rally cry “Stay Home” was shouted across the globe, work (where able) moved to home offices. Life as we know it shuts down and the landscape around us frighteningly transforms before our eyes. We watch as the jobs and livelihoods of million closed down. We witness our health care system, suddenly overwhelmed and overloaded, prepare for virus response. We observe our governments at every level frantically change focus with one one task – to care for their citizens now and immediately.
Many say “It’s surreal – like we’ve woken into an alternative universe – like a science fiction novel”. And as we bunker down in our homes, we know these are just the early days of the storm. We know more winds and heat are coming our way.
And as people of faith, we now know we are not simply and symbolically observing Lent this season. We are now literally living and wandering in the wilderness. We are journeying forth into this wilderness – into a new, unknown and uncertain God Season.
NAVIGATING THIS WILDERNESS
‘This will be a hot one!’
The information we receive and the rules of engagement change for us daily. Our familiar day-to-day routines have been upended, and the ramifications of the global pandemic are not yet fully known. We watch the news and wonder “how can all this happen?” How many loved ones will be infected with the virus? How many will lose work and income? How will communities around the world be affected? There seems to be no end in the rising numbers of infected, and we witness an infrastructure unable to support this calamity. We are at home, now in isolation, without knowing how long. We worry about the mental and physical health of ourselves and our loved ones.
With so many unknowns, we realize that we are called to become a different people. Everything we took for granted in our life suddenly becomes a treasure to us – that smile from the child, a hug from a friend, that phone call from our mother, that person holding the door open for us – valuable beyond priceless.
We walk through the wilderness, and navigate new ways of being. Together we journey from simple observation of the Lenten season into embracing and living in this new God Season.
EMBRACING THE GOD SEASON
“Joseph” acrylic on canvas 16″ x 12″ – artist Bradley Tyler Wilson
As we journey into this God Season, how are we called to be in community and covenant with one another? What are we seeking and hoping for? What are we witnessing and what are we giving? What do we treasure and embrace into our hearts and souls?
In this God Season, we are seeking solace and consolation.
We are finding creative and new ways to give comfort and connect with one another through social media, Zoom, and other technology. Worship services have moved online. We cheer each other up by sharing more of ourselves than ever before – from advice, prayers, humor, and free resources (when we find some.) to simply gratitude to one another for helping us keep the faith.
In this God Season, we find hope.
We witness the tirelessness of those doctors, nurses and professionals on the front line of this storm. We are encouraged to stay strong for one another. We witness our artists, poets and writers sharing their gifts to keep us inspired and entertained. We discover new inspiration and gifts we can share even at a distance.
In this God Season, we give comfort.
We commiserate with one another – especially with those who are feeling the stress and anxiety of being alone. We reach out, make phone calls, host video chats. We encircle our loved ones with energy of love and healing through prayer. We give generously to the food banks, and show up to make sure the school children are getting fed.
In this God Season, we embrace love.
We forgive one another for petty grievances. We seek intimacy with our loved ones, sharing stories and deeper truths with one another, through phone calls and video chats. We lift up in praise the acts of kindness and charity we witness. We light candles and build little altars in our homes to meditate and pray for a collective healing. We offer and embrace love to all.
And in this God Season, we simply pray…
Our dear, ever loving God, we pray for those who are alone, isolated and suffering. We pray as this storm continues that your peace and healing sustain us through through these difficult and distressing times. Let us remember that as a human race we are all in this together. Help us to find strength to obey your commandment “love one another as I have loved you.” In the name of the one who came and lived amidst us, we pray.
~~Dear people, do not let yourselves become too isolated during this time. Reach out and continue to connect as much as you can. Fear, anxiety and isolation can take it’s toll. Stay strong. Stay connected. Need prayers – drop me a line.~~
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