A Response from Pastor Doug
How are you doing during this lockdown? Me? I’m managing. There’s more time. More time to do my yoga routine, to read the books I have stacked up next to my desk, pray. But, as you might have guessed, I am learning how to be more patient.
Does it help to think about God, as in the phrase: “Relax – God’s In Charge”? I’ve been thinking about this, and why we say this. You might have your reasons (or not), but for me, I like to think that the creator God is bigger than illness, larger than life and death. I am encouraged by the knowledge that God’s love will remain with me, with us, and all of creation, long after I (we) have passed from this life into the next. And when I meditate on the fact that God’s love lasts forever, it brings a sense of peace, as in the “Peace that Passes All Understanding” that Jesus Christ offers us (and yes, I am learning to meditate.) We somehow have to train our minds to “seek first the kingdom of God” and then trust that all things will fall into place after that. That’s the building block of faith.
Our culture has somehow caused us to separate our body from our soul. Our bodies get sick and we immediately think it’s somehow our fault: We have to fix this. We have to get the diagnosis. We have to find the cure, get well, persevere, beat this thing . . . and sure, we do fight for our lives: fight cancer, fight addiction, fight the coronavirus . . . but in this fight, we have to remember to enlist our soul as well, and our souls are connected to a higher power that sustains and outlives our bodies and, as a matter of fact, has caused hundreds of millions of people over the eons to survive, to heal, to live faithfully, evolve and thrive. Do you believe that? Susan Dunlap, in a book called Caring Cultures, said this: “God is present in the surgeon’s knife, the administration of chemotherapy, and God is present in the anointing oil and the healing hands and words of Ministers and those who minister to one another. Jesus healed the sick and the church is engaged in healing practices since its earliest days. Healing is not confined to cure; healing can also be the gift of learning to live, love and serve faithfully while remaining ill, the body is God’s as much as the soul, and we can recover the body as the realm of God’s redeeming power.” (p. 207)
Me, I think this medical crisis will ultimately bring us closer; and I am looking forward to the time when our ministries together can resume and we will once again gather for worship, to offer praise and thanksgiving to our God, and ask for new energy, new ideas and creativity to more fully live into the Gospel and keep building this house of faith.