An agnostic friend texted me the other day:
“When this is all over, you’ll have something in common with literally every other inhabitant of the planet: ‘What did you do during the Pandemic?’ Maybe we’ll find we have more in common than we previously thought. That comforts me.”
There can be no doubt that what we’re going through is life altering. We’re confronting how little we actually control and we’re being called to accountability for the things we can manage. We’re suddenly and strangely aware of our personal space. We recognize that recklessness on our part holds serious implications for those around us. We’re learning the true meaning of patience, as another friend who survived COVID-19 recently told me.
We’re changing, and our choices in this crisis insist we do better. Our instincts for self-preservation extend beyond us to include everyone around us. If we are careless with ourselves, we are uncaring about others. That’s transformative thinking in a world that has habitually sacrificed community for individualism, ethical principals for economic profits, compassion for self-righteousness. The invisible space between “I” and “we” has narrowed dramatically, even though we’re keeping our physical distance. We are changing.
Nearly all transformation—real transformation, that is—comes with fear, anxiety, and trepidation attached. It ushers us into of uncertainty. It puts before us open roads with no discernable destination. To change is to become something other than, hopefully better than, maybe more than. Yet when our Maker and the planet force transformation on us, we should expect something good to emerge in what we’re becoming. News reports whisk us around the globe and the stories are all the same because (as my friend reminds us) we are the same. That will lead to comfort, even if we’ll likely travel through much grief and despair.
The Franciscan mystic, Sister Ilia Delio, is a wonderful hybrid—a theologian and scientist whose embrace of evolutionary theory yields a powerfully enlightened view of spirituality. We’re constantly changing, she tells us. “Chaos really is a saving grace… We emerge out of this long, cosmic process we call evolution. But evolution is about deep relationality. We are created for love, and that’s what keeps pulling us onward.”
As we wander through this COVID-19 desert, may we be increasingly mindful of what we’re becoming—of how we’re evolving—of what God is doing to bring forth transformation. May we never forget that love keeps pulling us onward. Its claim cannot be shaken. It calls us into, through, and out of the dangers that currently encompass us.
We are changing. We are becoming. Love is drawing us to new ways of being.
This week we’ll explore Sr. Ilio Delio in more depth as the final voice in our “Into the Mystic” Lenten series. Join us Thursday evening at 7:30p CDT as we learn more about the mystical aspects of living in an ever-changing world.
NOTE: We will meet via Zoom to enable better interactivity. It will be an exciting time together! The study can be accessed here: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/935975182. (No password is necessary.) You can also join by phone at 312-626-6799. The meeting number is 935 975 5182#.
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.