“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky (Acts 1:11)?” After his resurrection from the dead, the disciples knew Jesus was going to have to ascend to his Father. Yet, when the moment actually happened, all they could do was stare up to the heavens. As the disciples gazed into the sky, they were no doubt asking themselves, “Now, what do we do?”
Facing the upheaval, changes in lifestyle, health concerns and financial turmoil of these days, “now, what do we do” is certainly a central question for us as well. Our mission is to bring the life and love of the resurrected Jesus into the world. Each new experience and circumstance of our lives is an invitation to put our faith into action in concrete ways. What are some things to keep in mind while discerning what the Lord would have us do in response to what unfolds in our lives, the lives of others and the world?
First, it is important to see the bigger picture. No event or situation happens in isolation. We certainly know this as day after day doctors, scientists and other professionals try to piece together the causes of the pandemic, how we got where we are and what effect all this will have on our future. Looking at the bigger picture helps us to realize that our behaviors affect those who live beyond the personal worlds of our families and friends. Looking at the bigger picture allows us to see that some aspects of our lives may be changed forever and to acknowledge this and own it. It is clear the bigger picture was important to Jesus as he instructs his disciples to move outward from their personal worlds and make disciples of ALL the nations (Matt.28:19)!
Next, in discerning what to do in response to a life event, remember, as people of the Church, we are connected to each other. We live our life in Jesus together. Jesus taught us to pray “our” Father, not “my” Father. He spoke to the apostles as a group, not one by one. He sent them out two by two. Whatever we do in his name is not a solo act. It is in communion with each other. It is that communion with each other that can be a special strength at this time.
Finally, remember that it all belongs to God. It is tough to let go of our need to control things. There is much we can do to help minimize the spread of the virus and care for each other, yet so much is out of our control. It is sometimes hard to trade in our insistence that there is always something we can do for the admission that there are some things we cannot do. It all belongs to God. Now, what do we do?
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith