“The second most important commandment says: 'Love others as much as you love yourself.' No other commandment is more important than these" (Mark 12:31)
“To love at all is vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable” (C.S. Lewis).
You know the saying, “You don’t know what you are missing until it is gone.” This seems to be a sub-plot in 2020!
At the Zoom LeaderWise clergy workshop, “Coping Through COVID” last week, I scrolled down the screen and realized that I had not seen most of my clergy colleagues since our School for Ministry gathering in October 2019! I was a little shocked that I had such an emotional reaction – not realizing how much I have missed everyone.
As we listened to the workshop leaders talk about the impact COVID has had on our world, and spoke specifically to the implications of the higher level of stress has on those that are called to serve. As Christians called to love and be in community, we struggle with isolation, loneliness, and disconnection during this pandemic.
We are called to love, to build relationships, to be there for each other, and to help others join us in this journey. This pandemic has really highlighted our human need for compassion, care, and kindness.
Here are my top ten things to continue to nourish the heart and soul:
- Worship (there are lots of online opportunities)
- Daily devotion, reading and writing
- Ending the day in reflection and gratitude
- Donating (funds, clothes, food, supplies to church and non-profits)
- Advocating for justice (read a book, watch a documentary, discuss)
- Be creative (draw, dance, paint, plant, sing, share your story)
- Sending notes of encouragement
Lord, this season has separated us one from another in ways that we could not imagine. We pray that you would help us know that we are one phone call, one Zoom meeting, one email, one card away from each other. Help us to find new ways to live out “loving one another” as Christ commanded. We offer this prayer in Your Holy Name. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.