Challenging Times, Challenging Questions

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. – Acts 2:43-47

I generally love work and am internally motivated to get things done. So, when I’m not feeling well, I’m prone to ignore it, plow ahead and just hope time will heal me. I mean, there are things that just have to get done! But there comes a tipping point when I’m feeling so awful that my expectations must shift. I have to let go of my drive to accomplish. I have to make my health a higher priority. I have to lie down rather than plow through.

I’ve been wondering if many of us aren’t going to have to experience something similar but on a much larger scale as we move through this pandemic. Right now, I’m holding onto my expectation that sometime, hopefully soon, my life will return to “normal”. Sure, it’ll take a while for my retirement account to look like I’ve been working for more than five years, but I can work a few more years. And in the meantime, I can get back to life as it was.

But 3 million people in the US applied for unemployment last week, and that number is expected to grow dramatically in the weeks ahead.

Many of the bars and restaurants that I’ve enjoyed may not survive this crisis, and those business owners and their staff will struggle to find employment.

I expect that many will find themselves unable to afford housing and will become homeless across the country.

And that’s just among those of us who live in the wealthiest country in the world. It doesn’t even begin to grapple with the millions of people in other countries who are already living on the edge.

I wonder if we’re going to hit a tipping point that not only changes our expectations, but also the way that we live in relationship to our neighbor. That certainly happened to the first century Church. Their experience with the Holy Spirit changed their expectations of daily life, and the way that they lived together. They began to share everything, rather than competing for resources. They made the security of their neighbor a priority, even if it meant them having less. There was less “I” and more “we”.

And so I wonder…

Am I willing to shift from having a spare bedroom to having a temporary home for a homeless neighbor?

Am I willing to take a government stimulus check and invest it into the needs of others since I already have enough?

Am I willing to open my kitchen table and my heart to those who are food insecure and struggling with feelings of guilt and shame?

Am I willing to let go of my expectations and live into a new normal that has as much to do with my neighbor as it does with me?

In times of crisis (and perhaps always) I believe that the road of rugged individualism is a dead end, and that the pathway of interdependence is the way to thriving. Even if things aren’t the way they used to be.

Am I willing to walk that path? I wonder. Will you?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

Recent Posts
  • jay

    Financial Peace Universtiy?? anyone hosting or are there any groups meeting at or around burnsville or lakeville and are affiliated with Prince of Peace church,, anyone starting or meeting online for this class?

    daveramsey’s “financial peace university”,,,,,

    [email protected]

Start typing and press Enter to search