I like going to the top of buildings to get a different perspective, a good view.
On one such excursion, I rode the elevator to the seventh floor of the Prince Street Garage. The doors opened, revealing the sunlight, and I walked out into its warmth.
Something caught my eye. It was a red bell, like an old school bell, next to the elevator door. It had straw sticking out from behind the bell.
I took a closer look and saw that a short-sighted bird had built its nest in the temporary shelter of the bell.
Now maybe this particular bell never rings. But I couldn’t help but think about the jarring experience awaiting that poor bird.
We live in a world of people acting like this nest-making bird. Going about their business, thinking the bell never rings. Going about MY business, assuming the bell never rings.
And then it does. A global pandemic hits, right?
I don’t like the ringing in my ears. I hate it.
I want to get away from the quarantine, social distancing, mask-wearing mandates, and, most of all, …the isolation.
My pastor was updating us on the church’s reopening plan. He said, “Getting together again isn’t the main thing. Hearing God and following His command is the main thing.” (Thanks, Shawn!)
I’ve been feeling like the cat being pursued by Pepé Le Pew, clawing my way out of his unrelenting, forced, “romantic” arms. “Get me out of this quarantine and back into normal life!”
And as much as I long for gathered worship to resume, there is undoubtedly something bigger going on.
I don’t mean any of the conspiracy theories, real injustices, government overreach, or any of the emotionally charged arguments consuming us.
I mean, God is talking. Shouting, really.
As CS Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
What is God saying?
What is God saying to your congregation?
As I met with eleven worship leaders yesterday, we shared the conversations our churches are having about reopening, the logistics, the unknowns, the timelines.
There seemed to be much more certainty and energy around the logistics than revelation, than being unified, clarified, rallied around the message God wants to communicate with His Church.
And a new desire hit me. “God, please don’t let us rush through this. Don’t let us rush to return to normalcy. Normal wasn’t best. Normal was comfortable. But we want this time to an opportunity to let You fully have Your work in us. In our hearts, in our souls, in our teams, in our church, in our world. Don’t let us rush.”
One leader then said, “Intimacy sustains intensity.” Whether she was saying intimacy was the key to “surviving an intense time” or “remaining powerful over time,” the call to intimacy was spot on.
Can we slow our souls down enough to hear from the Lord? Have we spent time seeking Him rather than the light at the end of this tunnel? Has enough time passed since we’ve met to bring our hearts to the place of “casual indifference?” Rather than striving to regain our familiar rhythms, can be simply given to His purposes?
Let’s walk forward, but let’s step forward slowly. Slowly enough to be directed by His revelation. Let’s not rush through this.