[PC-USA] 2020-03-24 - Homework from God

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Many years ago, when I was training to become a Stephen Minister, our leader told us that in every situation that we or our care receiver were in, we and they should stop and ask "God, what do you want me to learn in this?" I am NOT saying that God caused the Covid-19, but what I am saying is that there is always something to learn, even in the negative situations.

I know that many students are out of regular school right now. In our state, the Governor has temporarily closed schools for the emergency. So a lot of students are being "home-schooled," doing both classwork and homework at home.

But I believe that God just may have some homework for those of us who are adults, as well. Since both the CDC and the President of the United States have asked us to all limit unnecessary gatherings, not be in any gatherings over 10 people etc.. Richard and I, along with many others, feel it is our Christian duty and honor to be at the forefront of being cooperative and doing our part, a la Philippians 2:4, as well as Romans 13. It is time for our Christian witness to shine, as an example. Just as with any President - no matter whom anyone voted for - we always have believed in respecting that authority and following it, for our good. As JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." We know that the hard-working scientists and our hard-working President are not just sitting up there trying to figure out ways to keep us from doing what we want. We know that like wise parents of stubborn and willful children, their guidelines are FOR OUR GOOD and the good of the most vulnerable among us, those who are elderly, have lung conditions, diabetes and compromised immune systems because this virus can be shared before the person with it even knows s/he is sick. And at this point, it really does seem to help because the rate of increase has slowed down at some places. As we have more test results come in, we can expect a temporary spike, but the "social distancing" (a term that I know that we all will be glad to stop hearing, yet that IS SAVING LIVES!) really does seem to be helping.

So meanwhile, we are going to be home a lot more, and speaking for myself, I am wondering if one lesson is the need for a simplification of my spiritual life. The first thing that has come to my mind is music. I enjoy singing Alto and Second Soprano, and serving as assistant pianist at our church. One of my specialties is special occasion music. My busy seasons are Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas, during which time I have the honor of being the accompanist on complex and beautiful choral arrangements that are sung by a talented and dedicated choir. This is my favorite type of playing, and I know that God uses the music ministry of our church to glorify God and to bless the worshippers. This music ministry is very important, and also is a CALLING from God. We all look forward to when normalcy returns, and we can resume singing and playing each week, But sometimes, we can get so focused on the details, that we can lose sight of the full meaning and the big picture. I can occasionally get so caught up in practicing, that I don't pay enough attention to the words of the songs. And I can be so focused on rehearsals and the days of presentations of the music, that perhaps I am not focusing enough on the MESSAGE that we are sharing! Decades ago, I learned that this is just a normal hazard of being a musician, the need for constant balance! Sometimes, we do better than others. Only I can focus my mind and center it on God.

So perhaps for me, one thing God wants to remind me before next Easter or even next Christmas is to keep my balance. In other words, in all areas of life, I tend to be a Martha. I need to try to emulate Mary a bit more (Luke 10:28-42). This year, at our church, things will be very simple. There will be only one service, and I will not be "doing" anything, rather simply listening to our gifted pastor's innovative message. At each Sunrise Service, he reads a letter "written" by one of the characters in the Bible story. They are clever and very Biblical, and we all try to be the first to guess who wrote it! It is both inspirational and fun! We focus on the Resurrection story, as is the purpose of that day And after missing three Sundays of services, we will be eagerly yearning for that Sunrise Service. Perhaps that is what God wants from me this Easter, even as we look forward to next Easter, when things will assumedly be "normal" again!

What about you? As we all get through this - and we will! - I would love to hear about the lessons God teaches you during this process.

[email jan] Jan


All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

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