The Great Pause

Tuesday, April 14

Scripture reading: Philippians 2:1-4, Galatians 6:9-10, Romans 12:1-2


Music is one of the things that has continually lifted my spirits during this quarantine. Jane Cocks’ piano playing. Singing along with the hymns and songs that have been part of our services. Listening to Andrea Bocelli sing Amazing Grace. Hearing people sing and play to cheer their neighbors in Italy and many other places around the world. Music videos from the Irish worship band Rend Collective (check ‘em out…pure joy). Music is truly a gift from God!

For a variety of reasons—not that I need more than one—I have been thinking a lot lately about what it will be like when we are finally able to be together again. That will be an emotional time for all of us. Aside from seeing your faces, the thing I am looking forward to the most is singing together. Music is such a powerful part of our worship together, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed the music that has been part of our recorded services, it will be different when we are all under the same roof again. In fact, I fully expect we will raise that roof with our singing! That’s something I can hardly wait for.

I read an interesting article the other day about reopening the country. The writer was clearly not a believer, and I didn’t agree with some of what he said, but he made a point about this quarantine that resonated with me. He called it “the greatest gift ever unwrapped.” Not the deaths, not the virus, but The Great Pause. “The curtain is wide open,” he said. “What the crisis has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views. At no other time, ever in our lives, have we gotten the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. Here it is. We’re in it. Stores are closed. Restaurants are empty. Streets and six-lane highways are barren...And because it is rarer than rare, it has brought to light all of the beautiful and painful truths of how we live. And that feels weird. Really weird. Because it has… never… happened… before.” He went on to say that if we want to create a better country and a better world for our kids, we have to pay attention to how we feel right now.

It’s good for us to consider this idea from the standpoint of our walk of faith as individuals, and our life as a church, the body of believers at Grace and beyond. When the cloud of this virus finally lifts, we should be wary about simply going back to all that we remember as “normal.” We need to work hard to maintain and preserve and perpetuate some of the good things that have come out of this crisis. More time with our families. A slower pace of life. More time to appreciate being outside. Digging more deeply into God’s word. Picking up the phone to call someone we sense might be lonely or struggling or vulnerable. Checking in to see how a friend or neighbor or church member is doing.

As Christians, we should be sure to continue some of the positives we have experienced as a result of this quarantine. We should take forward a deeper appreciation for being together, for how much we need and rely on one another. For what it sounds and feels like to sing together. If you are like me, you have a list of things that you may have previously taken for granted.

How has God been speaking to you through this crisis? What have you learned about yourself and others? Are there parts of the old “normal” that really are better left behind? What new developments or ways of thinking should we carry forward and try to make permanent?

Let us approach questions like these in a spirit of spiritual discernment, giving weight to Paul’s command in Romans 12: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

PrayerFather, we sense that you have been speaking to us in these difficult days. Give us ears to hear, hearts to discern, and a desire to seek your perfect will!

Pastor Jay