When have we heard this before?
Oh, that all too familiar question bellowed from the back seat from many a child to their parents while traveling on some form of a vacation or to a special event. It seems many modern vehicles are now equipped with drop-down screens for passengers to watch a favorite movie or to play a video game while donning a set of headphones so as not to disrupt anyone else’s riding experience. Gone are the days when impromptu sing-a-longs broke out, made-up games where the license plates on passing cars are used to go thru the alphabet, and God forbid someone notices a Volkswagen Beatle and gives you a “Slug Bug” punch directly to the arm. Oh to have that moment of human connection, when at least someone asked, “Are we there yet?”
While daily statistics are still rattled from the television of who is sick and who has died the question for many of us is, “Are we there yet?” Has the curve flattened or is it still on the climb? Can we let ourselves believe that we have come to the end of a global health crisis that leads us to start-up a back to the way things where before the first Cough was reported? Personally, I wish this were so. But then a sense of caution raises its head and says, “Do you really want to go through something like this again?” I pray, “Dear God, not again.”
As states are being told to take their own steps to social reentry, we can’t get so caught up in the excitement to publicly reconnect with family, friends, and strangers without considering precautions, steps, and potential risks. But it won’t be too long when we begin to ask, “When can we begin meeting for church again?” “Are we there yet?”
As I write this reflection, my heart and my mind tell me, “No, we are not there yet.” However, when we arrive, we will need to be ready to accept different forms and means of functioning from what will be a different norm than the normal we lived within before we first made laughter about virus with a name of popular beer. As we have learned and lived through this ordeal, this has been no laughing matter.
So, if we are not yet there, then, where are we? This is a good question. A cartoon comes to mind with God and the Devil engaged in a conversation. The Devil says to God, “See how this virus has closed all of your churches?” To which, God responds to the Devil, “Yes, but it’s opened a church in every home.”
There will be some lessons to learn from having to adapt to be the church because of COVID 19. One lesson is, “The church will always be the church.” I have been in awe how people of all faiths have found new and old means to be in community and to give thanks to the Divine. Another lesson is seeing how we have been able to reach out to others through online means. From the winter visitors who have joined us for Sunday worship who say, “Don’t leave us when you return to the building,” to the family who gathers in Zimbabwe to hear the Good News from Scottsdale, there is no stopping how we share God’s love that reaches out to others locally and around the world.
Perhaps the big lesson will be an epiphany, “If I felt this alone only for this short amount of time, then what must this be like for the people who experience similar isolation all the time?” The work of the church has not come to a screeching halt, rather, it’s allowed us to ramp up our cause and purpose that calls us to be the hands of Jesus that touch the heart and embrace the soul of everyone.
Are we there yet?
We’re getting closer.
My best to you!