How can we hope? How can we sing? O God, set free our voice to name the sorrows, name the pain, that we might yet rejoice. —ELW 698

I recently used the above hymn as part of one of my Friday Reflections. I have been thankful for my friends who have been posting music on Facebook and Twitter because it allows me to learn new songs or be reminded of songs that I had forgotten. One friend asked recently, “What are you doing to sustain yourself during this time?” I replied, “I have been doing a lot more singing.” Music has been important to me in this time because the lyrics and melody can often express what I might not have words for myself. So the music is resonating with me more.

I think my friend is asking a good question and so I ask each of you, “What are you doing to sustain yourself during this time?” Another way to ask this question is, “What is bringing you life in these days?” Singing is a big part for me but it’s not the only part. I have been trying to spend more time outside in the sun. Soaking in as much Vitamin D as I can. Pastor Sarah and I have spent a lot of time working on our yard and it currently looks better than it has in years. We’ve had way more time to focus on it.

But I’ve also noticed that I have needed more downtime. More time when I’m not trying to think or solve but time just decompressing. I also feel more tired these days. My schedule hasn’t changed all that much but life just seems more tiring. I’ve also noticed how much creative energy is required at this time. I’m sharing all of this because I have a sense that some of you are experiencing the same sort of things.

I’ve heard from a few people that the things that normally bring them joy, they aren’t currently interested in doing. I think this is normal when the days seem uncertain and when we lose contact with other human beings. Everything feels guarded. If you go to a store, you have a mask on, no one can see if you are smiling or scowling. In some cases, people turn away when they pass by or keep their eyes towards the floor. What I have recognized in this is that all of these guarded actions make connection harder. I know that some of you have been at home now for several weeks, family has been dropping off the things you need, and maybe you are really longing for some connection.

In this time, maybe more than ever, as God’s people we need to remember that Christ goes before us. That there is no place that we go, there is no thing that we do, that is separate from the love and presence of Christ. This realization may not instantly change the way we feel but it will hopefully keep us filled with hope. Hope for where we are being lead. Hope for this journey that we are on. So I leave you with the following verse from Joshua chapter 1: ‘9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

God’s Peace, Pastor Steve