Thursday, May 14, 2020

Freedom part 2

Psalm 66: 10-12.   CEB
But you, God, have tested us—
    you’ve refined us like silver,
11  trapped us in a net,
    laid burdens on our backs,
12  let other people run right over our heads—
    we’ve been through fire and water.
But you brought us out to freedom!

All of today’s readings are about the faithful surviving some great danger - Noah and the Ark, Paul escaping a terrible storm at sea, and this Psalm, which proclaims “God you have tested us . . .but you brought us out to freedom!” 

We’re still in the testing part.  We are still sheltering in place, worshipping online, ordering groceries and meals to be delivered, buying masks, searching for toilet paper, keeping young children entertained, and wondering when or if life would return to something resembling the before times.  We feel the burden of anxiety and worry about what lies ahead, and frustration at not being able to do the things we are accustomed to doing. We feel trapped as if by a net.

In some ways, though, I think we are also experiencing freedom. Our worship team, aka the Quarantine Qrew, is experiencing the freedom to experiment, to try new things, to look at new and different ways to elevate our Sunday worship “attendance” to heights previously unthought of.  At home we are free to try new things. Staying home means we aren’t walking in the door already tired and having to figure out what to eat, or feed our families in a hurry.  We now have time to spend experimenting with recipes or cooking old favorites that we usually just don’t have the time or energy to mess with.  Some of my friends are baking bread.  We are learning that we can function pretty well working from home. I personally love the freedom of attending meetings on Zoom instead of having to drive for hours to get to the meeting place.  

Just a week ago I my energy was gone, sapped by the daily stress of working from home and having so little human contact.  It took every trick I have learned over my lifetime to keep apathy and depression at bay.  In the last few days I have noticed that I seem to have regained some of that lost energy.  I am singing as I walk around the house, taking pleasure in keeping the house tidy and visitor ready - even though I know there will be no visitors for a while.  I am finding enjoyment in performing daily chores, like washing the dishes.  Somehow I have found freedom in my isolation, and that freedom is bringing me joy.  

Part of that feeling of freedom comes from my new practice of writing a daily meditation on Scripture.  It causes me to focus more than usual on what the passage is saying to me today, and any time I am focused on God and Scripture, even bad things feel better.  I can nearly always find hope in the words I focus on each morning, and that hope strengthens me.   

Gracious and Loving God, even in the midst of a testing time, your Word brings us hope.  May that hope strengthen us for today, and for whatever the future may bring.

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