12 Days Later
Note: I am writing this article on March 28th. On March 16th the FSPC Session met and made the decision to follow the recommendations of federal and local officials to not gather in groups of 10 people or more. On March 15 worship moved online and church access has been limited.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it Psalm 118:24
A day is a pretty simple measurement of time. Anyone can measure it, and it doesn’t matter if you have a watch, clock, or smartphone. We’re all on equal footing when it comes to noticing a day go by.
The sun rises, the sun sets, and the sun rises again. That’s one full day. That’s a new day. That’s one more day. I have read that there are a handful of places where a person can really get thrown off when it comes to measuring the days. Two of those places are the poles of the earth, where sunlight and darkness don’t follow the same rules as the do at the meridians. Another one of those places is in outer space. We here in Nebraska have our days pretty straightforward and simple. We’re right in the middle. Most of us like things that way.
While the length hasn’t changed, the last twelve days have seemed like a full thirty, at least. Time has seemed to have changed. In these past days we have experienced a seismic, abrupt, and unforgettable shift in the way we live out our daily lives. While the days have not changed in a technical sense, our individual standard measurement of a day has changed.
School and church buildings have closed mid-semester and mid-Lent. Students learn in front of their computers and their parents facilitate that learning the best they can. Many employees work remotely from home. Many others have suddenly lost their employment. Hospitals have become front lines in a new battle and brand-new hero stories are emerging. Retail workers and truck and delivery drivers have become indispensable. The days haven’t changed in length, but they have certainly changed in their makeup.
The past twelve days have been a novel pedagogy for me as a pastor. The most important lesson of many I’ve learned is to not ever again take what looks and feels like an ordinary day for granted. When I say This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it(!) it should have no hollow sound, but only echo the voice of a Godly and profound truth. I choose anew to believe and hold these words with my whole being. THIS is the day…
This very day and in the days to come we have been chosen by God to be the church in an unchartered landscape. Some of the old ways and practices will not work in our new environment. This challenge is great! The good news is, true and sustained transformation comes most abundantly by facing challenge and change each new day.
The time to be the adaptive and equipped-for-change church is now—today and in the challenging and changing days that are to come. We have been called together to experience this transformation together. We are here now, and the words remain alive and true: this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!