Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Light | Reader – Easter 2020
Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)
Reading: Psalm 74:9-17 (NIV)
9 We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. 10 How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? 11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. 14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. 15 It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. 16 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. 17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
Last week when our original "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order was extended through the beginning of May I began to think, 'at first this all felt like a snow day. Then we were told it was more like a winter storm. Then they said, "prepare for a blizzard". After being in quarantine for a month, and with another month coming, it feels like it's going to be a long winter.' Welcome to my thoughts.
Psalm 74 is one of those Psalms that come in the middle of the storm. In the middle of disorientation. In the middle of a transition, where the end-date of that transition is not yet in sight. In verses 9-11the Psalmist, questions, prods and declares, "none of us knows how long this will be." In verse 12, he catches himself, "But God..." and he begins to remember, and enumerates God's faithfulness throughout the generations. In verse 16, his tune begins to change and he reminds himself, "The day is yours, and yours also the night (God is God over light, and over darkness too)...it was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter."
The Psalmist reminds Himself of who He is, and who He's not. The Psalmist knows that God knows the seasons and that He set up the boundaries we experience as humans. Over the last few weeks, in my heart and mind, I've oscillated between, "everything changed" and "this season will come to a close quickly". Pete Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, would call the part of the transition continuum that we're in, "the confusing in-between." Knowing that transition and confusion is part of the human and biblical experience, I feel myself in good company and in Good Hands. It's ok to be confused right now. No one but God knows exactly how and when this will end.
I can control some things, most things I cannot. I can control my response to things outside of my control and I can control how I will spend my time. I've yet to establish a new set of rhythms. I am however beginning to see some daily patterns emerge, some that I like and some that I don't. Oversnacking anyone? Beginning this week, I am looking forward to being more present with God, my family, and others--not dreaming of a post-COVID future, and not dwelling in the pre-COVID past. This week I am making a decision: to remind myself even more intentionally, that God is God and I am not.
Question to consider this week: What adjustments may Jesus be asking you to make to your current quarantine rhythms and priorities this week?
Action step: Consider writing out a schedule for yourself for the week. Prioritize human connection, God's Word, fun and being present with those you do have around you. Have grace. Make adjustments along the way.
Prayer: God, you are always with me. Help me to be present with you, with myself and with the others that I do have amidst this quarantine season. Do what you want to do in me here, so you can do what you want to do through me later. In Jesus' name, amen.
Conclude with silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)