Dear Church in quarantine:
Our daily lives and regular routines have been suddenly disrupted due to social distancing and governor’s orders to close public establishments. Human beings are creatures of habit, and even the least regimented among us are discovering they also had routines they weren’t even aware of. If we are honest, we are also creatures of many bad habits that we have settled into and are now being forced to confront and temporarily give up.
Insofar as this pandemic can help us kick bad habits and establish new and healthier lifestyle rhythms, we are experiencing what I want to call a “holy disruption.” Some of the best known words in the Bible declare that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Rom. 8:28). God wants to meet us in the middle of this holy disruption and help us make some healthy changes in our daily routine. So, how has your daily routine been disrupted? How can this unholy pandemic precipitate positive change in your personal and family life rhythms?
Here are a few scenarios that come immediately to mind:
- Parents accustomed to taxiing their children from activity to activity now find themselves playing boardgames together at home.
- Instead of a Saturday afternoon at the movie theater, you may find yourself on a long nature walk.
- Instead of fast-food in the car, families may find themselves cooking a meal together and having a candlelight dinner.
- An emotionally distant father who regularly goes to the bar after work find himself going home to be with his family.
What else would you add to this list?
Finally, churches accustomed to spending much of their time and resources preparing for Sunday worship, may find themselves brainstorming ways to pool resources to respond to the hardships such as sudden unemployment caused by this pandemic.
I don’t want to downplay the serious pain and additional stress this pandemic is causing, but let us also look for opportunities to grow through this difficult time. Let us have the eyes of faith to see in these unfortunate circumstances some “Holy Disruptions.” The Bible’s less popular language for what I’m describing here is self-examination and “repentance”—which simply means to turn away from unhealthy patterns (sin) and turn toward God’s good Way that leads to life.
Let us remember that we who are Christians are in the middle of the Season of Lent, which is at its heart a time for slowing down for self-examination and fasting from certain things. Because of the coronavirus much of the world is now “fasting” from restaurants and bars, health clubs and sports, movie theaters and concerts. Let us pray that as these preoccupations are removed from our lives for a season, that we would turn more of our time and attention to the things that matter most: family, faith and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Grace and peace,