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300

January 9, 2021

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

300. The length of the ark in cubits. The number of Spartans at Thermopylae, or Israelites under the command of Gideon. The number of home runs hit by Chuck Klein, the “Hoosier Hammer.” The number of days in a row I’ve opened up my browser to write a Dispatch during the pandemic.

It’s a well-documented fact that I thought this wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple weeks. Instead, we’ve lived through some of the most challenging days of our lives. 300 days later, the pandemic rages on. Incredibly, vaccines have been developed and rolled out in a very short time. Inevitably, there have been problems with distribution and supply. There is hope at the end of the tunnel, but case counts and deaths continue to rise, and we’re not out of the tunnel yet.

We’ve witnessed ongoing violence against Black people and other People of Color. We’ve named the sin of white supremacy. We’ve seen and participated in marches and vigils, working to push back against racism outside and within ourselves.

During these days, Joe Biden won the presidential election only to have his legitimate victory questioned by those who would undermine American democracy. This past week, the president of the United States and his allies incited violence against the U.S. Capitol, against the fabric of our democracy, in an attempt to overturn the will of the voters through a naked grab for power.

Against this national backdrop, we’ve celebrated Easter, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the coming of a New Year, not to mention almost everyone’s birthday, in pandemic style. “Pandemic style.” That’s a euphemism for “not at all how we’d want to.” We’ve missed out on travel, lost seasons of children’s sports, arts and other activities, and gone without seeing our families. Some of you have contracted the coronavirus. Almost all of us know someone who has died from it. I’ve stood at the graves of saints killed by COVID, commending them into God’s unfailing care.

There have been joys, too. No challenge or darkness can rob all of the joy of living. We’ve continued to gather for worship, albeit in new ways. We’ve had more time, perhaps, to read, or to take up a new hobby. We’ve had the opportunity to reset priorities, to serve our neighbors in need. In my house, the constant theme of blessing has been more time spent together.

300 days. That’s a long time. And not much time at all, I suppose, depending how you look at it. Even so, I’m hopeful that we’re out of the tunnel soon, and in more ways than one. Thanks for reading. I’ll keep writing.

If things get worse, I suppose we can always do what Samson did. He took 300 foxes and tied their tails together in pairs. Between each pair of tails he set a flaming torch and set the confused, and probably enraged, foxes loose within the farms of his Philistine enemies.

Actually, that sounds like a pretty bad idea. Let’s just keep living out the gospel of Jesus Christ, showing forth grace and mercy for the sake of justice and peace. Jesus has sustained us through these 300 days, and the next 300 need the gifts he gives, too.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of all times and seasons, our days are in your hands. Thank you for bringing us in safety to this new day. Give us grace to continue to trust in you. As chaos swirls around us, keep our feet grounded upon your unfailing truth and our hearts attuned to one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Grace on the morning of Sunday, March 15, the first Sunday without in-person worship. This was the image on Day 1, many moons ago.

From → COVID-19

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