At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51
In Matthew’s story of the crucifixion the temple curtain was torn in two, symbolizing God’s will for humankind was fully revealed in Jesus Christ.
There are times on our lives’ journey when the barrier between this world and the next is torn or ripped and for a brief moment we catch a glimpse of the kingdom in all its fullness. In an instant our values and priorities are shuffled and reordered.
The birth of a child, a talk with a friend, those holy moments when a loved one moves from this world to the next. For a short time we see clearly what matters and what doesn’t, what is a problem versus an inconvenience. Then, as we go about our daily lives we are caught up once again with the tasks of life and our vision dims.
As a pastor inside the South Dakota State Penitentiary I called it ‘prison vision’ – the realization life’s greatest gifts are relationships, not things, and the small joys of life, a good meal, a hug, a walk in the forest, a day at the beach are not small joys at all but great blessings from God. Their true value revealed in their absence.
Our lives have been reordered by COVID-19 the past 14 months and we yearn for a return to the world that was. As the pandemic fades our congregational leaders work to guide us through the transition knowing it will be too fast for some and too slow for others.
Yet, this transition is one we make as individuals as well as a congregation. It is an opportunity to find the gift in the midst of all we have lost. Congregations may continue to stream their services online, sales people will Zoom more and travel less, some business’s will continue to languish while others flourish as the pandemic fades.
As we stand on the brink of a return to life as it was, it is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on what we truly value and cherish. To consciously choose what we will resume and what we will leave behind. A time to claim the gifts in the midst of the loss; closer relationships with family and friends, less busyness and more quietness, less focus on the urgent and more attending to the important.
Take time this month to reflect and to talk with those you love about those times and places you caught a glimpse of the kingdom these past 14 months and how you may hold onto this new awareness, this new blessing revealed.
Pastor Bob Chell