I don't know about you but it feels different this side of Easter. I don't know of anything that has particularly changed. We're still under stay-home orders. Kids are still doing distance education. But it feels different. Maybe it's because I put the computer aside and rested yesterday - trying to do what brought joy - including saying yes to games, edible cookie dough, etc. Maybe it is settling into a new normal. We've got a rhythm - perhaps not exactly what we would like. Maybe it's the cool breeze blowing as I write this on the back patio. Maybe nothing really has changed except my attitude.
I stepped away from the Daily Common Lectionary before Holy Week. You may remember that we were moving through the plagues as God worked through Moses to get the people out of Egypt. It was all just a little too close. Then it was Holy Week and spent some time exploring the days leading up to the Resurrection. Today I opened back to the Daily Common Lectionary and while they are still in Exodus - the people are free and finding a new normal in the wilderness. In chapter 16 (which we read on Maundy Thursday) the people were grumbling about being hungry and God provided manna & quail. In Chapter 17 - people were grumbling about being thirsty and water came forth from the rock. Chapter 18 had Moses getting advice from his Father-in-Law that he should not bear the burden all on his own. Chapter 19 - they get to Mt. Sinai, chapter 20 - 24 the 10 commandments, laws, etc. Today's reading Chapter 25:1-22 Offerings for the Tabernacle & the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant is the reminder of not just the 10 commandments but that God is with them. No matter where they travel in the wilderness, God goes too. Maybe I needed the reminder, not just Easter message - that Christ died for us, while we were yet sinners and that proves God's love for us - but I needed the Christmas message of Emmanuel - God is with us. It's not that I forgot at all but in all of our new normal I was out of sorts. For instance in my morning devotion there is the same blessing every day - one that brings me comfort. But in these times at home - I skipped it because I didn't feel like it applied. And yet, it did and does.
"May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you; may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm; may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors." As we settle into the wilderness that we are in - let us trust that God goes with us so that whatever our day and night look like we know we are not alone.
Let us pray: God of the wilderness, make your presence known in our midst. Move in us, and through us, ahead of and behind us so that wherever we are and whatever we are doing we know, without a doubt you are here. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.