This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, Sept 8, 2020
Recently I have been reading through the books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah in the Old Testament. If you know anything about either of these two books, they are not exactly the Bible’s most uplifting and inspiring stories that Bible has to offer. Both of them record events that took place around the destruction of Israel and Judah. There is a reason why Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet. He is heartbroken because the situation he is living through is so bad.
I am not comparing the fall of the Kingdom of Judah to our current situation. Contrary to what the overreaction media from both camps may tell you, I do not believe we are living in the final days of the United States. Even if I am wrong about that, then I do not believe that the fate of our nation will be determined by what happens on Tuesday, November 3. Whether we elect the big ego businessman or the lifelong politician, the core of what makes our nation great will not change. Thank God we are not defined by our media. Our cultural betters such as: politicians, celebrities, and professional athletes do not represent our country.
People who have private security, live in walled neighborhoods, and have over 7 digits in their bank accounts do not speak for those of us who go to work every day. I currently only have 3 digits in my checking account and that is true every day except for the 15th and the 30th of the month (payday at Wayne Street). I don’t live in a reinforced compound and I work for a non-profit which has been greatly affected by this pandemic. I am just doing what I can do make my beautiful corner of the world here in St Marys a better place.
I don’t condone violence, I support first responders, and I want everyone of every persuasion to be successful, safe, and happy. I wear a mask when I am under a roof in public, I love the Tow Path, and I think the splash pad was a wonderful addition to our community. I have opinions on the upcoming election, but regardless of what happens between now and November 3, I plan to keep doing everything that defines who I am every day until the Good Lord calls me home. I am not going to get upset about things I have no control over.
That is what stuck with me in my read through Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Even though the people had sinned and that was leading to their destruction, God’s call to the faithful remnant was to continue to be faithful. Sure, it is ok not to like what is happening, but it is not ok to forsake your sacred duty because of your current circumstances. The call to faithfulness is not dependent on your current circumstances.
I fully admit, the way I would define faithfulness on March 14 is far different from the way we all began to define it on March 15, the first day of the Coronavirus shutdown. I can’t tell you to go out and serve your community because that isn’t what we do anymore. But just because we can’t be in Sunday School classes or small groups at church or go and serve our community doesn’t mean there isn’t still an expectation of faithfulness.
During this season of confusion, mixed signals, and questionable amounts of government intrusion in all of our lives, we can allow our discouragement, frustration, and loneliness to cause us to let faithfulness go. I hope that even if you haven’t been to a live worship service in 6 months that you are still supporting your local congregation with your prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Yes, those words mean something different now than they did 6 months ago, but even with all of the strangeness of life today, those expectations were not dismissed.
I don’t know if we will ever get back to normal. I don’t even know what normal is anymore because after these “15 days to slow the spread” that we started back in mid-March, I barely remember what normal used to be. But one thing the virus has not taken from us, our opportunity to be faithful. Faithful to our families, our jobs, our friends, and our congregations. No regulation can take that from us. So if you feel disconnected, I ask you are you praying? Have you picked up the phone to make a call? Have you sent in financial support to a cause you support? Have you tuned into an online worship service from one of our excellent local churches?
Is that ideal? No, but it is the best we have available right now. What everyone needs to do is to fight through the temptation to just feel bad and instead find a way to reach out in a way that is appropriate to our current circumstances. Faithfulness may look different today, but it is still possible.