Hi everyone. Rob here.
We are entering a precarious time in New Zealand as the Delta variant of Covid-19 slowly but surely leaks out of Auckland and spreads through the country. In the meantime the pressure is on to get as many people in the country vaccinated as possible. The government is being bombarded by voices calling out for more freedoms and other voices wanting everything to remain closed. The opposition tells them the things they should have done and businesses, especially in tourism and hospitality, beg the government for lifelines. In the meantime the rest of us are starting to show signs of malaise as the grind of lockdowns and constant disruption take their toll. How do we bring our hearts to God at this time? How do we bear the fruits of the Spirit when our spirits are struggling?
First of all, let’s not pretend that this is a good time. We’ve had to say goodbye to many of the things that brought us joy, like travel and dinners out, change the way we work which can make us feel less effective and experience days that all look the same, all while the enemy called Covid bangs on the door. It’s not a good time. Let’s name that as true.
Second, let’s bring it all back to first principles. We are loved by God, one with Christ and sustained by the Spirit. We are alive, and while each day has enough trouble on its own, each day also has the promise of God’s love coming through for us. The hard thing when you’re in a state of malaise is to begin the day in hopeful expectation that divine love is coming though for you. But that is the invitation. May the eyes of our hearts be opened so that we can see and receive God’s love coming for us right through the day. May we see it in the sunrise and/or sunset, in the affection of our children, our spouse, our dog! May we taste it in good food and clean water. May we feel it under a hot shower, the suns rays and a shady tree. May the daily provisions that God gives us reach into our tired, weary hearts and bring us to life.
Third, let’s exercise a bigger faith and remember that Jesus is coming again and will make all things new. Our malaise is not the final chapter. It’s a necessary wrestling we have to go through right now but the truer reality is that the kingdom has come and is coming. Even now in the midst of global upheaval the wheat and the weeds grow and Jesus’ coming is closer than ever. As we fix our eyes on that future hope it helps us to open our eyes to where Jesus is coming for us and the world right now. Ánd remember, we see the kingdom in the mustard seeds and the yeast, not the headlines. All around us we see kindness being exercised, sacrifices being made and courage being practiced, all for the sake of others. May our eyes be opened to these signs of the kingdom all around us.
On a sober note, many of those headlines have belonged to the church this last week. An anti-lockdown rally, vaccine skepticism, unhelpful comments and more have flowed from the pulpits meant to be used for proclaiming good news. The kingdom is not found in those headlines either. The truly Christian work being done is when we love our neighbour. Getting vaccinated is loving our neighbour, wearing a mask is loving our neighbour, sticking to lockdown rules is loving our neighbour and letting them know they are loved is loving our neighbour.
Mat God’s love shake you out of any malaise you may feel this week. As you receive that love may it spread to your neighbours and, in that way, God’s love will truly see us through. Grace and peace everyone.