Here we are at the brink of Lent, and I honestly can’t believe how much things have changed since last Lent. If you remember (and you probably do as I keep reminding everyone about this), we started meeting online only for worship on March 15, 2020, which was the 3rd Sunday in Lent. This means we’re getting dangerously close to the one-year mark. And I’ll be honest, it’s really starting to show.
Which is understandable because a lot has happened. A lot of things are different. We’ve felt a lot of loss, discomfort, and even pain.
It isn’t unnatural for us to wish that things would just go back to the way they were. It is normal that we long for the past. There is nothing wrong with wanting the world to change back to what we were used to.
But I’m just wondering, what if it doesn’t go back? What if what we’ve known is gone forever? What if this is the way the world will be from now on?
Of course, I’m not saying that it should be like this or that I’m hoping it will be. Of course I want this pandemic to end. But if the world has been irrevocably changed, would we ever be able to accept it? Could we ever move on? Will we again be able to see God in this new way of being?
If it does come down to that, I really do hope that we can answer all of that in the affirmative. Because regardless of where we go as we hit that one-year mark and beyond, I know that God has been with us, is with us, and will continue to be with us always. And being able to see God’s face in the midst of it is what will give us hope in spite of it all.
So here’s hoping… and also here’s knowing that that there is even hope at all.
So what does all this have to do with these readings? I think we see in this Transfiguration Sunday texts stories of holding onto what was and forgetting to see the beauty that is. There is Elisha almost angry that Elijah is leaving, there is Paul talking about the veil that covers our eyes from seeing the gospel, and Peter dumbfoundedly suggesting to build tents without fully grasping what is happening right before his eyes.
But as I said, it is normal to wish for what was. We see it in our lives now, we see it in these texts, we see it in the comments and attitudes of the people around us. But in spite of how much change we have faced in the past year, it is important to never lose sight of God’s grace, blessing, and love. It is there if we look. It is apparent if we see. It is present if that veil is lifted and we can again have hope.
I’m not trying to belittle the hardship of this past year or the very real pain that people have felt. I’m not trying to brush away the fact that this pandemic has been difficult. I’m not even trying to solve the seemingly increasing collective stress levels that I’ve noticed in the past few weeks. I’m just saying that things can look better even if they aren’t getting better, because that is what hope does. That is what God’s blessing does. That is what the acknowledgement of God’s love present in our lives does.
Let’s not forget the beauty of the world in spite of the ugliness.
Have a great week, everyone!