"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken"
~ Psalm 55:22
I woke up this morning and realized that there is this lingering feeling within. I'm not sure if it is because we are beginning our third month of being confined, or if it's the new reality of life that seems to be making itself known. Overall, it is a tension that exists. I think I am having a better understanding of what it means to be of the world but not in the world. Of what it means to "contemplate," and to wander, spiritually.
As a child, I remember a friend of our family who had built a fallout shelter in his back yard. Of course the Cold War was still something that was a reality for us. I can still remember drills where we would find ourselves huddled under our desks in the event of a strike. Having lived through this new period of isolation, I realize that I would not have survived the apocalyptic-designed space that was placed under the ground in the event of a nuclear attack.
I can honestly say, "I would not have survived."
I realize that I would do better as someone who would wander the desert as a contemplative spiritualist before locking myself away under the ground to avoid nuclear fallout.
I am discovering that in this time of change, we are all being invited to take a psychological journey in holiness that seems to not really have a goal in sight. While I have to continually remind myself that earth is not my home, I cannot help but realize that earth is exactly where I am!
I am drawn to the lives of the Disciples who suddenly find they are still living among earthly ideas after having walked with both the manifestation of God in Jesus and the resurrected Christ. I think I am beginning to understand the tension that must have existed in their life. Not that a pandemic forced them into isolation, but having watched Jesus die certainly changed them. To be told by John the Baptist that the Kingdom of God is at hand, then to meet Jesus, Emmanuel (God with us), and then be told that, "You can do things in my (Jesus') name," from one who had died and rose again, only to fail over and over. The tension had to be real.
I think that what we are all learning about now is that tension is a part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Without tension, we fail to recognize that miracle. The things that happen that are unexplainable. To practice new spiritual disciplines that remind us that we may feel like we are alone, but we are among many who are encountering the world in the same way.
We may feel that there is a gaping abyss between us and our neighbor, we are much closer than we realize. If anything, this time of tension is inviting each of us to reclaim our faith. To pray in different ways, making sure that we lift one another up in prayer, and that our focus is not on the things of this world, but on one another.
May the tension that we experience bring us to a new understanding of our relationship with God and how we relate to God in our daily life.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.