Chirpy was a fun loving and beautifully singing canary who never tired of entertaining an audience with her melodic sound. One day her owner was vacuuming the house while Chirpy was safe in her cage. Chirpy’s Mom decided to save some time and clean out her cage with the end of the vacuum hose. As she carefully removed the litter, the phone rang, and Mom instinctively reached for the phone only a few feet away. As she was about to say “hello” she heard this horrendous ”swoop” and Chirpy was gone, sucked into the vacuum's canister.
Mom quickly shut off the vacuum and opened the canister, and found Chirpy okay but somewhat stunned and shaken, covered with dust and grime. She did what any compassionate bird owner would do. She carefully picked up Chirpy, cupping her in her hand and ran to the kitchen sink and held her under the cold water. Noticing that Chirpy was shaking from the cold she blow-dried her with a hair dryer and gingerly placed her back in her cage. Her neighbor who heard the story called and asked how Chirpy was doing. “Well,” said the owner, “she pretty much just sits there and she seldom sings anymore.”
I would imagine that in the midst of COVID-19, that’s pretty much how we feel. Sucked up, drenched in cold water and blown dry. It’s taken a lot out of us and our churches. I would also imagine for our younger pastors who are just starting out, it’s been particularly difficult. Don’t forget to check on one another, and pastors, don’t forget your families.
Personally, I can’t wait to see how God is going to use all that we’ve been through! Daily I need to remind myself of the promises of God. Though more sinner than saint sucked up into the world’s craziness, I rejoice in God’s promise that ‘there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus’. Though washed over, I am reminded of my own Baptism when the indelible sign of the cross was made with water upon my forehead and engraved upon my heart. And though often blown over by the challenges of the day and ministry, I know that Christ walks by my side being filled with a ‘living hope’. Though disappointed in the barriers and stumbling blocks, I realize more than ever that I can do all things through Christ’s strength and reminding myself that ‘not even the gates of hell shall prevail against us’. I haven’t quite grasped St. Paul’s mindset, ‘learning to be content in all things,’ but I am learning to trust more in Christ and the Spirit’s leading.
I believe COVID-19 is a wake-up call to our churches and to the Body of Christ. We’ve been too lapse and too content with 'staying in our lane'. God has called us forth to stand up, stand out, and stand strong with the greatest message ever proclaimed. Maybe what we need now is a spiritual pandemic inviting and allowing God to work through us to proclaim the joy that ‘God so loves the world that He gave His One and Only Son’. Now is the time, perhaps more than ever to let our faith shine through by walking the extra mile, sharing the extra shirt, turning the other cheek, and directing our attention away from what has and will happen to us to what Jesus has done for us.