I’ve been giving a bit of thought to the reasons that this disruption of our everyday lives feels so “big” to us. Aside from the obvious seriousness of living with the presence of a virus spreading across our world. I believe that the root of what is so off-putting to our modernist minds is our complete inability to control or fully understand the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Self-sufficiency and self-definition are two of the biggest “goods” encouraged by the culture around us, and right now, both of these things are absent from daily life.
Our self-sufficiency has been called into question as we’ve come to realize that if the delivery trucks don’t bring in the products we need, we won’t have access to them (TP anyone?). We recognize that the little things that we took for granted just weeks ago, aren’t as permanent as we once thought. This causes us to fear.
Self-definition is also unraveling before our eyes. The foundations, upon which people have built their identities, are missing. Sports are nowhere to be found, movie theaters and malls have closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, and most educational institutions have closed their doors. These are all things that people use to define themselves, to associate with a group, to feel a sense of purpose. Now, those things too, have gone from their lives.
As followers of Christ, we are instructed not to live in fear. More than that, we are equipped to follow that command.
We already know that we can’t go through life on our own, that we aren’t fully self-sufficient. We know that we are not promised an easy path through life, and we don’t know what we may encounter along that path. All we know is what’s at the end, and how we’re instructed to walk along the way. On this path, we’re gifted companionship: the church. A family, brothers and sisters in Christ, walking the same path together, encouraging each other, praying for wisdom to navigate well, and helping keep each other’s focus on the road ahead, rather than the darkness surrounding us.
In addition, we’ve also experienced a change in identity. The core of our being must no longer be defined by these externalities. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the good things we’ve been given, it’s just that we’ve come to a place of recognizing these things for what they are, gifts. We’re not to be defined by the world we live in, but by our citizenship to a Kingdom that is to come. In this change of allegiance, comes peace when our world is shaken.
If our purpose and identity comes from beyond ourselves, let’s show the world around us what that looks like! Rather than living fearfully, let’s live hopefully. Not being reckless, but serving our communities in consistent, small ways. Using the confidence that we are gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve as beacons of light to those around us. A friendly “Have a nice day!” to someone filling up next to you at the gas station, checking if your elderly neighbor needs help with anything, or reaching out to a friend who’s isolated during this time.
We’ve been given a gift. Let’s not keep it to ourselves. May we become the willing tools that God uses to redeem and transform this dark time into something beautiful!