Hello First Pres Family!
I’m sorry I can’t send a video again this time. Technology is being a rather fickle friend right now in some places. It makes me think that the beginning of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 should be updated. “There is a time for streaming, and a time for buffering; a time for fast processing, and a time for system errors; a time for CTRL-ALT-DELETE, and a time to throw your computer out of a window.” Sounds reasonable, right?
In all seriousness, Ecclesiastes chapter 3 has been on my mind, particularly the latter half of verse 3. “A time to break down, and a time to build up.” The weight of this pandemic is breaking me down. I can see the pieces of myself scattered at my feet. I imagine others in our congregation are feeling the same way. And you know what? That’s ok. It’s part of the process. What a rare and precious opportunity most of us have been given, to truly examine the many pieces that make up the whole of ourselves.
And yet there are those in the health care profession, among others, who will not be given a time to reflect in this manner. I feel for them, and I feel myself breaking. I feel for those whose bodies are fighting this virus, and again, I feel myself breaking down. We all recognize suffering in the world, but rarely does the world stop to recognize the suffering of others on such a global scale.
This thinking reminds me of the paradox that an open heart is only truly open if it is broken, a metaphysical fissure, allowing yourself to empathize and sympathize to such a degree that your heart might hurt. That you would open up yourselves to others, presenting yourself most vulnerable, so that they might do the same. Feeling broken down by the terms of the heart might be something that we all need a little practice with, and here we are.
My prayer for you is that you might take this opportunity to examine the pieces of yourself, to be broken down, and that you would find the strength to build yourself back up. When this pandemic passes, and it will, this idea in Ecclesiastes that there is “a time to break down, and a time to build up” will continue to be a metamorphosis that we all should take part in. May it be so with me and with you.