Daily Reflection 4/22/2020
Suzanne Cain

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18, 19

The last reflection I shared I talked about the change of the seasons our family witnessed while we were on Spring Break.  The way the earth was springing up with life amidst what seemed desolate and barren.  

Those images haven’t left me.  And now especially since it seems the earth is settled into the fullness of Spring.  We have almost come to the peak of pollination and blooming. We have beautiful irises blooming in our backyard and I have seen them around town.  Maybe it’s just me, but the trees seem more  vibrantly green than I can remember!  The change has happened, creation is once again alive.  How long before we don’t notice anymore?  I wonder what in us has changed and will continue to change as we forge ahead into the unknown of this pandemic.  Have you been wondering how this time will change you?  How it will change our world?  Our nation?  Our city?  Our church?  We are now in our sixth week of doing things differently.  Work, school, church are all different. 

If we have ever been guilty of defining ourselves by what we do, then the past few weeks have certainly been frustrating.  Frustrating that the avenues and routines we have created in our lives are not there, at least for now.  And, at least for now, our staying is what we do.  Staying because it is the right thing to do.  Staying is doing something.  What a radical change of pace we couldn’t have anticipated.  

Randy and I were talking the other day about the small shifts and adjustments that are happening.  We recently found out that our car insurance company was going to be handing out over $500 million to their customers because not as many people are on the road and therefore, not as many car accidents are happening and less claims are being filed.  A shift.  There are reports that our rivers and lakes are less polluted because of the decrease in travel.  The earth is healing and adjusting.  We have slept in and taken many walks around the neighborhood which has also allowed us to rest our eyes from a screen and our minds from work.  A little moment of Sabbath in the middle of the day!  A welcome and much needed adjustment.  We are thinking deeply and creatively of how to show love and appreciation for each other – especially our healthcare community and teachers.  I wonder if these shifts, adjustments – changes will stick around?  Probably not all of them.  But maybe.  

Colossians 3 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). . . . These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.  But now you must get rid of all such things . . . seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator”

 We might add falsely defining ourselves by our doing to the list of postures that need to be put to death.  Idols we have unknowingly created that keep us from living our truest selves.  When we live out of our truest self our value is found in our being, not our doing.  Finding our truest self is to change how we see and to experience a renewing of our mind.  Change and renewal is damn hard.  But God is always doing a new thing in creation and as long as we clothe ourselves in love and grace, God’s new thing will become our new thing.  

Brittany shared the poem Stay by Jan Richardson at the end of worship this past week.  It is printed at the bottom of the worship guide if you would also like to revisit it.  It asks the questions, “What will you do, where will you go, how will you live”?   Resolve comes at the end when God seems to say “Stay – you cannot know what I am doing but for you, it will be a new thing.  Your eyes will see differently, your ears will hear differently, your mind will awaken”.  Call it a shift, an adjustment, a change.  I pray we bind it around us.  

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

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