This article was published in the May 19th edition of the Marathon Mercury.
So far my family and I have been in lockdown for nine weeks. That’s nine weeks of us keeping to our own company, and nine weeks of me preaching to an empty room.
On Sundays, I preach to a laptop, in an empty church, with my two trusted assistants (my partner and baby). They don’t really listen to my sermons because they’re often walking around the sanctuary trying to keep one of them from interrupting me (I won’t tell you which). Now, I love that I can connect with my church community online, I love that I’m still able to work, and to take care of my family. I love that I can go to the church on Sundays to celebrate at the communion table, surrounded by art and light-filled windows. I love it, I do.
Nonetheless, I am tired. As I am sure so many of you are, I am bone-weary tired of this pandemic. I miss hugging folks at church, going for coffee, and having meetings in-person. I’ve only lived in Marathon for eleven weeks and I already miss all those things that make this place home. And, I miss the cinnamon buns at I Sew!
Now I walk around town and say to myself: How lonely lies the city, once so full of people! (Lam. 1:1) You know it’s pretty bad when you find yourself quoting the Book of Lamentations! COVID-19 feels a bit like Jerusalem besieged, us trapped in our homes with our fear and uncertainty. My heart hurts and I’m tired. I want the enemy gone from the front gates, I want to see my neighbours back in the streets and parks. But for now, it isn’t safe. For now, we wait.
I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to whisper the words of the poet later on, when he says “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.” (Lam. 3:21b-24) But even when I don’t have the energy or conviction to believe all will be well the sun still rises and sets. The robins appear in the yard. My baby continues to grow and learn.
Even if my brain can’t quite comprehend it, my senses take in that testament to a God of unfailing love. Ever faithful no matter how tired I might feel. And now, I find myself singing “Fresh as the morning” in the kitchen. Its less an earworm and more a prayer, that the knowledge my body seems to know will seep into my noggin. May it be so.