written by Jessica Ribera
The weight of this strange time has me rocketing from faith to fear and, hopefully, back again almost hourly. Whoever you are, your life has changed. We are all different, so COVID-19 and the lockdown do not exert the same forces or cause the same problems in each of our lives. The demands on some workers are staggering while others lose jobs. But no matter the individual circumstances, every problem and responsibility now has a universal underscore. Go ahead and change the typeface on your list of burdens to bold.
From every source, including, perhaps most powerfully, our own hearts, come pressure and suggestions to do quarantine right. It is the American way to optimize, impress, conquer, and look great doing it. Even “quit trying to do everything so perfectly” and “just take this time to slow down” can feel like impossible standards. We’re bombarded with advice, pep-talks, and hand-washing videos from everyone, even those retailers who took advantage of our need for discount codes! I am exhausted by it all, and I know you are too.
As we have heard in Pastor David’s recent sermons, the people of God have been given an unshakable gift: the powerful, protective, preserving love of God. Psalm 121 says that he is the shade on our right hand, the never-sleeping keeper of our lives. We have been challenged to pray, to keep track of God’s goodness to us and the fears he deflects, and to offer faces of peace, hope, and help to our community. Not just another set of expectations, God’s ways are blessings. Only Jesus, as Peter confessed, has words of life. Where else would we go?
We need the Lord every hour, and we need each other too. These necessities motivate launching the TCS Blog. Let it be a bright spot in your newsfeed a couple times a week and a place to find:
Stories of God’s work in our church, city, and world
Encouragement, joy, and even play
Reminders of who we truly are
Material to share with neighbors and families
The blog will be edited and curated by a team but written by many of you! We want all the stories (example below!) and ideas you have.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trying to complete my Nehemiah Bible study for Monday, I was interrupted by kids once per minute. They were sent outside, and I finally jotted answers to the (2!) questions then hung my head, discouraged. Why? What is happening, God? It’s so hard! A slow rain began, and my first thought was, uggh, now the kids are going to come running back in! Immediately, a Pastor Luke tune for an old hymn flowed into my mind: Oh, the water, living water, all the thirsty to relieve, free to every son and daughter, come to Jesus and receive.
Right, I prayed, and my permanently hunched shoulders dropped a bit. In your kingdom, water is a blessing. Immediately, the sun broke through the clouds and shone bright and warm on my eyelids while the large, sparse drops continued to fall. I laughed at the ridiculous, plenteous grace. Your face shines upon us and gives us peace. I drank in the moment until, predictably, someone hit another someone with a large stick.