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A Marathon Not a Sprint

I've been quiet this week. I've missed writing devotions occasionally, here and there since we began quarantine life but my body had other plans this week. Monday & Tuesday I began to have a flareup. I tried to rest and I was impatient. I wanted to be able to do all the things that I had been able to do. Sound familiar? This week Governor Abbott announced that he would allow the stay home order to expire tonight at midnight. Some churches have already announced that they will be resuming in person worship this weekend with others to follow. However, Bishop Jones has said that he strongly advises us not to begin worship in person through the month of May and possibly into June. Dr. Mark Boom of Houston Methodist Hospital wrote a piece on what our new normal will look like as things begin to reopen. In short, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of space, no hugs, handshakes, wearing masks and keeping occupancy below 25%. As far as worship, there are additional things that we need to adjust such as not passing the offering plates, attendance pads, nothing in the pews and no singing to minimize exposure. Just because things are open does not mean that the virus is not present. Our Bishop is strongly recommending that we will not meet in person for the month of May and will re-evaluate later this morning. I share this in our devotional time because we will be trying to adjust and find new normals in all that we do. Our classes for school will soon be winding down but we will not be having summer camp and other things that we usually do. We will continue to find new normals. This is a marathon and not a sprint.

I am not a runner. All the jokes about if you see me running you better see what is chasing me are true. I will walk long distances but run, nope! But I understand the metaphor - we lived in the ICUs with Tim, my Dad, my own health not to mention recovering from storms. We know what the long haul looks like when it comes to repairing homes. We do not, however, know how to do things while maintaining physical space. Except, we do have road maps left for us by Christians who weathered plagues, persecution and the like. We have the opportunity to recover some ancient practices while still having some of our creature comforts. And the best news is that we are not alone.

I've been think a great deal about the people of Israel who traveled to Egypt to survive a famine and ended up as slaves. They left their homes for survival only to have their freedom taken from them. And God was with them. Moses came to lead them from oppression and the waters had barely drowned the chasing army when they wanted to go back to Egypt because at least they were not hungry there. Change. Is. Hard. Period. It takes time to trust that we will be ok. It is natural for us to long for what we knew instead of find a new course. I do not have all the answers. Right now I feel like I don't have any good answers. But I know that we when we dream together God will work with us. We've seen it before. We lived it last year as we worked to find a new solution for our music ministry. God is with us as we dream. So I invite you to think creatively about ways we can live together, pray together, worship together all while caring for each other. Next week I will share some lessons we can learn from our Methodist history. But today, I am breathing deeply the beautiful spring day. I am listening to the birds chirp. I am feeling the gentle wind blow. I am being still and knowing God.

Let us pray: God of the creation, you called the world into being and pronounced it good. You made animals, birds, oceans and mountains and called it good. You fashioned us in your image and called us good. And then you rested and called it good. Help us to take time to rest, to care for ourselves as we continue to create in new ways our community life. Amen.

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