Pastor Betsy Kamphuis
Pastor Betsy Kamphuis
I do not like wilderness journeys, which is what this COVID 19 pandemic seems to have created. I have been on such journeys before. I don’t like being out of my familiar surroundings. I don’t like not being with you in person. I don’t like the uncertainty of today and tomorrow. I don’t like not sharing the supper of our Lord. I do not like altering Holy Week, delaying Easter Vigil and Easter. I do not like wilderness journeys. But here we are . . .still in the wilderness.
So, what is there to say as we journey through these wilderness days?
First, so many people must be out on the front lines of this disease. They are in harm’s way. Pray for them. Pray also for people who must make hard decisions for our communities; no one likes to be the bearer of grim tidings. Pray for our scientists who seek effective treatments for COVID 19. The pressure brought to bear on them must be extreme. Offer words of blessing for these people.
Second, we WILL celebrate Easter. The first time we can gather fully as a community, we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can grieve having our best laid plans changed. But we are not bound by the calendar. We WILL celebrate Easter – be it in May or June or whenever.
Third, wilderness journeys are best survived when we are willing to learn new skills or resurrect old skills. You are opposed to technology, if you have never tried Zoom or Facebook—these are rewarding ways to connect with others. I am tired of learning new skills too. I know it makes us uncomfortable, but sometimes it is worth the discomfort. If you have never cooked ‘from scratch’ or haven’t done it in a long time, perhaps now is the time. If you have never written a note, perhaps now is the time to try it. Try a new or renewed thing
Fourth, people who live in the wilderness for a while learn the importance of practicing hospitality which sometimes is just another word for living generously. In the wilderness, caring for the stranger, feeding and providing shelter for those who come your way, are important because they help those people survive to face tomorrow. So practice hospitality, practice generosity, don’t hoard.
Fifth, pray for each other. This has been our Lenten theme, but it is even more important as we move forward. Use your directory or your address list or your friends list. Pray for each person--a few a day. Pray for forgiveness, for mercy, for hope, for safety, for new life.
Sixth, reactive behavior and decision making is almost never a good response in wilderness journeys. If we ‘run scared’ we may find ourselves in other difficulties. So breathe, practice calming decision making, work on using your ‘upper brain’ not your ‘survival brain’
Finally, remember this too shall pass. Wilderness journeys always come to an end. Take one step at a time. Rest when you need to, then get up and continue to journey.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ be with you to defend you, before you to lead you, behind you to guard you, and around you to bless you”