We all have regular rhythms of life. These can change as we get involved in new activities and challenges or as we move on from those activities that have become a familiar part of life and into unknown territory. For all of us, our lives today have a very different rhythm, whether we continue to go to our workplaces, often in providing essential services (thank you so much, all of you) or whether we are at home or working from home. This is especially so for the elderly and most vulnerable. How are you coping? Some of us may be enjoying the changed rhythms of life but for some of us we may be really struggling.
I have read a couple of blogs recently about our reactions in the Covid-19 crisis which have described the changed rhythms of life as “transition” – a technical term used by psychologists to describe the challenges of the process of adjusting from one rhythm of life to another. And we all experience transition throughout our lives. Life is full of transition – being born, growing up, getting married, buying a house, having family, changing jobs, retiring. There are so many situations we experience in life and all tend to be characterized as leaving behind the familiar and going into something unfamiliar. The only transition I can think of where the move from the old to the new is certain, rewarding and the best we will ever make is our last one – into the eternal presence of God!
But how are you coping? Is isolation challenging for you? How are you sleeping? Are you less patient than usual? Are you finding it difficult to complete jobs well or productively? Do you feel easily tired? Do you miss social interaction? Do you miss seeing family? Are you fearful for the future? How are you coping with the new ‘virtual’ world where we can catch up with one another but at a distance? That’s especially difficult if you love “hugs” – socially distanced hugging is difficult!
Transition is tough because having to change our rhythms of life can be really tough.
A friend of ours (Rev. Jodie Gaston), who oversees GEM missionaries from the US and Canada, working in the UK, had some helpful advice for them recently. The gist of what he wrote is that we should recognize that:
Thanks, Jodie, for that great advice.
Even as many are going through tough times we rest confidently in Jesus’ promise – that He would be walking with us through our whole lives, through every transition and that he would never leave us alone.
Stay safe and well.
I mentioned at the beginning of the year (it seems like years not months ago), how I felt God was speaking to me, particularly through the story of the Samaritan women at the well. John 4:5-42.
I think it’s a story that has so much to teach us about our relationship with God. How much he loves us. How he reaches out to those on the margins. Everything is in this story, salvation, hope, even comedy, double meanings and misunderstandings. Jesus offers the woman living water (the common or garden phrase for ‘running water, as oppose to still or stagnant), and the woman reminds Jesus he has no bucket. Is Jesus greater than Jacob, the original giver of the well (take note of the ’our father Jacob’, tribal claims of water rights, still a sore point in that region). She can’t quote Exodus, since the Jews claim that as their text. When Jesus responds with the promise of a water that will mean she never thirsts again, she suddenly almost becomes submission (This is a massive promise in that region water is everything). I don’t expect she really knows what it is he is really offering, but she wants it.
Similarly as in his response to the rich young ruler, Jesus puts his finger on the point where her life is most in need of living water. The repartee starts again ‘Call your husband’. ‘Haven’t got one.’ ‘No-five down, one to go.’ Oops, change the subject please get the discussion away from me…’ Are you a prophet by any chance? We have this thing about which mountain we should worship on’ (Contextualise: ‘Oh you’re from that church, are you? Bit dodgy’? Always a good distraction).
Objection overruled and Jesus brings it back on track. ‘Spirit, not mountains not even Jerusalem, is what matters; and the one God is looking for Spirit filled-people right now.’ ’Oh very interesting-of course one day the Messiah is coming. He’ll explain all this complicated stuff. ’Phew. Read Let’s not get too far into this stuff. Pause. No way off the hook. The tired thirsty Jewish rabbi Jesus holds her gaze. Ego eimi,ho lalon soi: ‘I am, who am speaking to you.’ Messiah, and…’I am’? (‘’I who speak to you am he.’ Hairs on the back of your neck, moment.) End of repartee. Time for action, full disclosure and life changed. This encounter changes a life, changes a town. Jesus meets us at our point of need and changes us, and in changing us allows us to be involved in changing others.
God Bless, Dave
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