Proverbs 18:15 (NIV)
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
I spend a good portion of my day researching, reading, and studying. It used to be that most of my research and study was preparation for sermonizing. These day much of my research time is spend trying to learn the best ways to do online worship, how to use the Payroll Protection Plan funds so that we can have full forgiveness of the loan when the time comes, possible precautions that will have to be in place when the time comes that some of us can return to the sanctuary for in person worship, and how to stay as healthy as possible. Truthfully, I spend almost as much time trying to determine the credibility and reliability of the source material as I do actually reading what I have found.
That’s nothing new. I have to do that when researching for sermons. An internet search on almost any topic can send me down rabbit holes into an alternate reality. A search on 2 Kings 2:11 “suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm.” sent me to some very interesting sites about aliens visiting earth. This was not in any way helpful for my sermon, but a fun way to spend an hour or so. This particular rabbit hole yielded a great deal of information, but very little in the way of knowledge.
It happens with some frequency that my research changes my preconceptions about a topic. What I am discovering right now, however, is that even the most credible sources of information, scientists and medical experts are having to change their own preconceptions almost daily. Statements made a month ago, a week ago, even yesterday, are being discarded and revised. Everything is changing so quickly that it is difficult to keep up. For those of us who are not epidemiologists or researchers in related fields it can be hard to discern which sources are credible when the information changes daily.
Not long ago, we were thinking we would all go back to worship in a few weeks, and have a full Easter celebration. We were worried about finding enough flowers for our flower cross. Now, of course, we know that’s not going to happen. But we don’t know yet what will happen. We must remain adaptable, accepting change as it comes, trusting in God to guide us to wisdom.
God, in this time of profound change, we pray for discernment, and the tools to prepare us for what’s to come. Amen