Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 5, March 18, 2020
“Still waters”

            My spirit was in turmoil. It was this past Sunday. The reality of the Coronavirus was starting to sink in. We had cancelled church. Travelers returning from foreign destinations were packed into airport screening lines lasting several hours. Shelves were empty in grocery stores. And we were being called to practice social isolation. My spirit was in turmoil.

            Seeking to clear my mind I went on an afternoon run. The sun was out. The sky was blue. I was running along Weekapaug Road and the Salt Pond was to my left. The waters were mesmerizing. They were clear. They were crystal clear. They were bright and beautiful. And they were calm. The waters were calm. Because the waters were so calm, so clear, so peaceful, I was able to see into the waters with clarity.

            The contrast between my troubled spirit and the still waters could not have been starker. And yet the very calmness of the waters brought me a measure of peace. The still waters were almost like a call to worship, a call to worship based on perhaps the most beautiful passage of poetry in the Bible.

“The Lord is my shepherd…” In the 23rd Psalm David affirms that it is the Lord, the Shepherd, who leads him beside the still waters. In this time of the Coronavirus, I wonder how many are like me? I wonder how many need to be led to the still waters.

            The same deep faith that is found by still waters comes through in Psalm 46.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains crumble into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” It is unclear what crisis the psalmist is facing, but the image of quaking mountains and roaring waters alerts us to uncertain and unsettling times. Today we understand those times. Today we understand uncertainty. Today the mountains are quaking and the waters are roaring with their full fury. And yet…and yet…Psalm 46 is not an invitation to panic. Psalm 46 is an invitation to find peace. In a time of quaking mountains and roaring waters, shifting foundations and uncertain times, the voice of the Lord speaks into the chaos and confusion. “Be still and know that I am God.”

            Today I ran by the same waters. Today they were calm and clear yet again. Today I ran by the still waters. Today I heard the voice of the Lord saying to me, “Be still and know that I am God.” And so today I invite you to come to the still waters. Today I invite you to be still and know that the Lord is God. The Lord is God today, tomorrow, and forever. The still waters once again have called me to worship. I invite you to join me in praying what is perhaps the most beautiful passage of poetry in the Bible.

                                                23rd Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

With the love of Christ,