I was supposed to be in West Virginia doing what is called a 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation this week. Then Lori Jo and I were going to take a week off, and spend time in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. I would have a vacation. Of course, all of that is now canceled. And I thought that I would need to be here every Sunday to make sure there is some sort of worship up on Facebook and Youtube.
Then I talked with my Spiritual Director and he urged me to take the time off anyway. It is true, there is actually now more for me to do. We are doing a newsletter that started after the Social Distancing began. So, I will be taking a week off beginning the end of this week. Which means I won’t be here on Sunday!
Jim Baker is filling in for me as the Preacher. I am really happy to have Jim able to deliver a message. It really isn’t much of a step beyond what he already does nearly every Sunday introducing the Old Testament lesson. This gives Jim an opportunity to grow a little, and deliver a sermon for Sunday worship. For me, it is a joy to see growth in leadership within Asbury.
And that is what I want to concentrate on now. Amid the anxiety, the mounting death toll in our state from the COVID-19 Pandemic, there is still joy.
I experienced joy when my family got together via computer to wish my 5-year-old granddaughter a Happy Birthday. I got to see my 2-year-old grandson jumping around and rolling on the rug. I also saw my much more “mature” almost 16-year-old granddaughter and 13-year-old grandson. Oh, yeh, all my kids were there too! What joy! We should have done this years ago, but we didn’t. It took this kind of social “lock-down” to enable us to realize what a gift we can get just by being able to see each other in real time.
Other people seem to be finding relaxation in walking. I have been walking my dog around my neighborhood for nearly 6 years. Most of the time I might wave to a couple of people, and I have met the three other people who regularly walk their dogs. In the last month I have met a bunch more people. I am doing what I have always done, but they are out walking, either because they now work from home, or because they are no longer working. There is always a down side. But the up side is that I see more of my neighbors, and get to at least say “Hi” from a distance.
Even when the clouds seem deep and dark, we can still find joy. Maybe just in the little things. There is joy to be found! Go and look!