March 29, 2020

When I Awake

These are strange days. As a pastor, there have always been certain aspects of my job that can be done from home. In the case of writing a sermon, I even prefer working from the little study in the back of my house. But now we're all being told to do everything from home. It's not even responsible to go out, and most of us are staying in whenever possible. Sadly, I find myself ready to retire much earlier than in the past. I even pushed the garbage cans to the curb in my pajamas and robe at 4 PM the other day. The fact that I was also wearing my snow boots (there was no snow on the ground) and my hat with ear flaps must have made for an especially amusing sight for any neighbors who happened to be looking out their window at the time.

The point is that most of us are feeling a bit isolated right now. There's something frightening happening in the world, and we're under cover. Even the introverts among us are longing for face-to-face interaction. This longing is so ancient and such a universal human experience that in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we trace it back to our very inception. Built into us is a longing for the One who created us, and our social nature is in large part due to the fact that we were created in God's Image.

Psalm 17 speaks to us of the danger at the hands of evil people. You can easily picture the psalmist hiding away in fear as they wait for deliverance. Such isolation leads beyond fear to loneliness, and so the final verse might be speaking of waking up and reëntering society.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
—Ps. 17:15

The day will soon come when we can wake up and return to the world, not fearing interaction with our fellow human beings. Maybe then, more than before, we will see in our neighbors the Image of the One who made us all.

Grant me health and strength and patience during difficult times, Lord. And as I pray for myself, so I pray for others, that together we will better appreciate each other, and more than ever before realize that we are sisters and brothers in the blood of the Jesus Christ, who taught me to pray...

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