This isn’t the first time in history that everything is different than what we thought it would be three or four weeks ago. However, it certainly is the first in my lifetime. I find myself every day just wanting normal. Routine. Boring. Expected. The usual. Maybe someday soon we’ll get a bit of that. For now, though, every day brings something else to invent or to create because “we’ve never done it this way before.”
I learned to remind shipmates in the navy that, following some traumatic or life-changing event, people experience stress and symptoms of it, such as varying sleep patterns and appetites. We would remind people that these kinds of things are “normal reactions to abnormal events.” In other words, people experiencing these typical symptoms of stress are, in fact, normal. What’s not normal is the situation we find ourselves in.
I can’t count the number of times in a letter or a sermon that I’ve reminded us that our life of faith promises new experiences every day. Jesus doesn’t promise us routine or predictability. He does promise one constant. One. That he will never leave us but will be with us always. This truth we can absolutely and always count on. When the world around us changes every day, when we’re experiencing stress and the challenge of figuring out how everything in our life works these days, Jesus will not leave us comfortless.
I encourage you to experiment with some different prayer practices that can help us connect deeply with that constant presence of God’s Holy Spirit. This can be as simple as sitting comfortably and breathing deeply. As we breathe in, we can say in our mind, “Jesus, son of God,” and as we breathe out, we can say, “have mercy on me.” As we breathe in, we breathe in the peaceful presence of God, and as we breathe out, we let go of the stress, the anger, the fear.
Then, at 11:00 a.m. each day, get on our YouTube page or our website and let’s pray together. I know it can feel strange to pray in this new way. It’s certainly not what we’re used to. But even though a lot has changed, God’s promise to be in our midst when we gather doesn’t change.
Do you want to talk about other ways to pray? Come to our virtual coffee hour on Sunday, and we can share our thoughts and hear what others are experiencing.
See you soon!