As we have be languishing (should we use that word) under the stay-at-home order, it has been fascinating to me to watch the number of items shared on social media and recounted in conversations that skew data or make questionable claims, all to back up our perspective that we need to get back to normal.
I want to have kids back in school. I want to be with people in public. I want to attends youth sporting events. I want to watch something live on ESPN again. I want to meet up with friends at the brewpub. I want to crowd our little church building again. I want to travel on planes to far-off destinations. I want to have to buy gas for my car again (wait did I just say that?!) I want… I want… I want…
You could probably build your own list of the things you want. Many good. To hug grandkids again. To go to a concert. To run in an organized marathon.
But as I think through my list I am struck with how selfish my desires for getting back to normal truly are. I am absolutely concerned about the economy. I deeply desire the flourishing of humanity. But I also want to eat a chesseburger without having to microwave it after I pick it up with a mask on.
And there it is. Most of the stuff I most want to get back to is honestly waste. Am I aching to get back to serving my neighbors? Was I doing that in the first place? Am I aching to get back to sharing the gospel with people at every opportunity? Was I doing that in the first place? Am I aching to get back to living with less so someone else has enough? Was I doing that in the first place?
Our “normal” was wrapped up in self, and I doubt you are all that different from me. So why long to “get back” to that? Why be so obsessed with the past that we miss what the future, even what the present holds?
As I ponder these things, I am thankful that Jesus doesn’t motivate with guilt, and my intention is not to guilt myself, or you, into change. But it is an opportunity for intentional reflection about what we are really meant to value in life and what we should spend our remaining days living for.
Let’s not return to waste.
Of the lessons we must learn from this pandemic is the utter interconnection between individuals and others, and in fact all things pertaining to life.
My actions impact my neighbor. My finances are tied to the economics of distant businesses. My food and its availability is tied to decisions about supply chain made in board rooms beyond my LinkedIn account.
All connected. All tied to each other.
For the believer this shouldn’t be new. Jeremiah gives us a picture of bringing Shalom, peace to the places we are connected, telling exiles that their success is tied to that of their neighbors.
More than ever, we should lean into our interconnectedness. Take the time to see how we are tied together and work, and live awakened to the ways we can serve and love one another.