Pastor Steve Brown
Greetings to the Saints of St. Mark!
"I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
What are your thoughts on the coronavirus? Granted, what any of us think does not change the reality of what is (or isn't) taking place during this pandemic - but it does affect our perspective. When the coronavirus first blew into town the call to sheltering, social distancing, and masks was immediate and far-reaching. Yet, as time has gone on, the wind of the coronavirus has been experienced differently by various persons. Some have felt the time of working from home and limited interaction with others has been a blessing to their family. Little league and travel sports were cancelled and suddenly the burden of traveling from here to there and practices and games was lifted. These people saw a break in their hectic habits and the pace of life slowing down so they could breathe again. A positive benefit of this time of pandemic has been like a refreshing breeze to busy people and families.
For others, the coronavirus has been a strong headwind in opposition to their lifestyle and routines. Sheltering was difficult, stocks were falling, and their jobs made more difficult from home. It has been a time of adversity but not one they could not overcome. The wind knocked down some limbs and knocked over a trash can but things can be set right with a little extra effort. These folks hope the forecast for the future, maybe by September or October, will be better. They don't know how long, but soon. They are ready to try to get things normal again.
There are those, however, that have felt the wind of the coronavirus blow across the land and through their lives as a tropical storm. It has been unrelenting and prolonged. It has raised their fears and rocked their world. Sheltering is lonely and isolating with human contact sparse. It has been a time of wanting - from toilet paper to a meal out or even a hug from a grandchild. The world has been punched in the jaw (no one saw it coming) and knocked down on the canvas. It will take time to get up, to get better and get on with life. It will take time to get over this storm...and it's still raining.
One other group of persons has experienced the coronavirus with hurricane force. The power has been knocked out and they feel like they are in the dark looking for a light. Their lives have been shaken and the world is no longer the safe place they remember. Friendliness has been covered with mistrust and dread now has a chair at the table. It may take quite some time before normalcy (freedom from fear?) returns. Worry is now the background noise to every day, fading when one gets distracted but gets louder at different times during the day - or at night. Even when the coronavirus is gone the aftershocks could keep reverberating throughout the months and years.
Regardless of one's opinion of the coronavirus, most of us are tired of its presence (or scared and tired). This summer means covering with sunscreen - and a mask. This summer means getting away - or at least 6 feet apart wherever you go. This summer means clean fun is desired - and clean hands are required.
As summer comes, we know a lot of things may be on the minds of the folks of St. Mark. But let us also keep in mind that the Lord is at work in this world and in our lives. Let's not get too much COVID-19 on our minds that we forget to be mindful of Jesus. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is a prayer for us - and good to pray every day...and night. For we are never alone and Jesus is always speaking words of love, hope, peace, grace, and life to us - no matter which way the wind blows.