Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus
Day 11, March 24, 2020
There they were, all gathered together, 30 or 40 in a cluster so tight they were packed in like sardines. How could they have not heard by this point? Practice social isolation. It has been all over the news, social media, and word of mouth. Six feet of separation. No large gatherings, no gatherings over 500, then 100, 25, 10…and there they were, 30 or 40 of them, huddled way too close and bumping into each other like it was nobody’s business. I looked at them and muttered, “Those turkeys!”
Those turkeys were in the front yard of a nearby house this morning. There they were, some spreading their wings and preening for their audience, some bouncing their heads back and forth like they were sharing the latest gossip, a couple of smaller ones having what looked like a game of tag, and all in all, those turkeys seemed to be having a mighty fine time. Taking it all in I muttered, “Those turkeys.”
And then after I muttered, I realized I was actually pretty envious of “Those turkeys.” I remember when we used to gather together like “Those turkeys.” I remember when we used to huddle up at coffee fellowship. I remember when the kids used to race back and forth in our little playground or even sometimes right there in Fellowship Hall. I remember when we used to gather in the choir room and practice music. I remember when our ringers would line up at long tables and strike their happy notes. I remember when we had game night and 40 of us showed up, laughing and eating snacks and slapping each other on the back, and even…hugging one another. Those turkeys. They have it pretty good right now. They still get to gather together.
The psalmist knew what it was like to miss that feeling of gathering together. In a poignant remembrance of days gone by, days when he was right in the center of the community, right in the middle of the action, right there with the brothers and sisters, the psalmist writes, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of thanksgiving among the festive throng.” Psalm 42:4) The psalmist misses being there, with the community, gathered together. Because of that the soul realizes his soul is downcast. Maybe you have felt downcast during this time of social isolation. I know I have had my moments.
I encourage you take some time and read Psalm 42. Psalm 42 tells of one who is downcast, one who remembers going with the multitudes and leading the procession to the house of God. Psalm 42 tells of one who remembers shouting with thanksgiving among the festive throng. Feeling downcast, the psalmist does something very important. The psalmist becomes aware that all he has to hold onto is God. The psalmist reminds himself to, “Put your hope in God.” Being reminded to put his hope in God, a glimmer of hope shines through. The psalmist realizes God will help him through this difficult time. “I will yet praise him.” Oh yes, we will praise the Lord. Oh yes, we will gather together again. Oh yes, we will have times of praising and rejoicing. Holding on to God, let us put our hope in God, for we will yet praise him.
And if you happen to see “Those turkeys” congregating somewhere near you, just smile and nod your head knowingly. Just like “Those turkeys”, one day we will be back together bumping into each other, jostling for a spot in the pew, passing trays filled with the bread and the cup, joining our voices together to sing songs of praise, and if I know the people of Dunn’s Corners, there will be some good old fashioned hugging. I’m glad I saw “Those turkeys” today. They reminded me of how good it is to gather with dear friends.
With the love of Christ,