Missional Musings: Becoming a seed in our difficult circumstances
March 17, 2020
What a difference a few weeks can make. I’m sitting at home this morning, after just completing a staff Zoom meeting, recognizing the privilege in being able to have internet and work from home.
I know most of us are now self-isolating, or at least doing our best to socially detach, and what a strange thing that is. I mean, how often have I taken for granted meeting someone for coffee or ice cream? How often do I just casually pop into the store to grab just one item that I “need” (but let’s face it, it usually isn’t a need… and my definition of what “I need” has now somewhat shifted).
I’m an introvert, so in some ways this isn’t that difficult for me, although there’s something to be said to desiring to come home and be by myself with my furries (dogs) for a little bit to recharge, vs. feeling as if it’s not really my choice to do so.
Things have changed.
Friends, my heart is heavy and I’m sure you might find yourself in the same place as I am… this place where you feel discouraged and concerned.
My heart is heavy for all those who are at-risk. My mom is one of those individuals, and I’m fearful for her. Yet, I know all we can do is be cautious and do our best, so that’s what we’re doing.
My heart is heavy for all the people on the front lines of this thing, trying to find answers, trying to get the right information out there, fighting to save lives.
My heart is heavy for all those who are losing income or having to continue working in their daily jobs, those who are struggling to make ends meet, those having difficulties in finding childcare, those who need to have extra funds for more food for their children who are now home from school… so many people who are hurting and struggling. Those who aren’t sure what today will bring.
My heart is heavy for all of the unexpected changes we’re now facing. And yet… YET – I have hope. It’s not that I don’t recognize the severity of the situation, but I’m clinging to hope and looking for opportunities.
I’ve seen this quote a lot lately and it rings true for me personally and I think it applies for what we are facing today… “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”
This thing may feel as if it’s trying to bury us… but we are seeds.
Our theme for missions 2020 is Treasured… taken from 2 Corinthians 4:6-9, which reads –
It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
Surrounded and battered by troubles? Not sure what to do? Spiritually terrorized? Feeling thrown down?
I think these are applicable words for us today.
And yet – there is hope – because God says to light up the darkness… because… we’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, BUT we’re not demoralized. We’re not sure what to do, BUT we know that God knows what to do. We’ve been spiritually terrorized – that is, not really understanding the why or the how of all of this, BUT God hasn’t left our side. We’ve been thrown down, BUT we haven’t been broken.
We are seeds.
So I wonder as followers of Jesus what we are during this time of uncertainty and fear that is around us?
There are opportunities here for the light of Christ to shine in the darkness.
So many of my clergy colleagues have been able to be creative to provide worship experiences, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s a seed.
So many people have been connecting to others in different ways that may be a stretch for them. Case in point: me doing a video… That’s a seed.
There are so many opportunities to connect with loved ones in meaningful ways. To spend more time together.
To pick up a book and travel to a new place, while staying at home. To make the most of each moment we have.
To live and love differently, in spite of change and difficulty.
Those are seeds.
There are many ways we can continue reaching out to our neighbors, even as we are doing our best to follow CDC guidelines and stay healthy and safe, and try to do all we can do to protect the most vulnerable populations at this time.
We can pray.
We can act… from a safe distance. Pick up the phone. Send a text. Facetime. Use the tools we have available to reach out to another person. Going to the store or pharmacy? Find out if your neighbor or friend needs something and drop it off to them (you don’t even need to see each other). Write a letter – a real letter – to someone.
We can be present. Take a walk – enjoy nature and fresh air… Listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels play. Know that it’s okay to pause and to just BE in the moment.
Be a seed. Allow the light of Christ to shine in and through you.
Let me leave you with this Non-traditional blessing… one that is a great reminder for all of us:
A Non-traditional Blessing
May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then may you also be blessed with:
happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others
inner peace—because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others
laughter—because your heart will be light
faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.
These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from the One who wants to be your companion…our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.