Spiritual Perspectives In Unnerving Times
State of Emergency
The amount of information that you are consuming is excessive. Every phone, tablet and screen you look at brings you an up-to-the-minute crisis evaluation. Every person you talk to begins and ends the conversation with the latest they’ve heard about how long this will last or how soon it will be over or how bad the economy is going to be. What’s worse, someone wants to tell you that the facts that you’re listening to online are not even true! (Snopes.com can’t keep up!) In the last day a new compound-word has appeared in our collective lexicon, this has become an “infodemic”.
Everything is moving so fast that you may have missed one of the most dramatic moments of our lifetime announced by our governing officials, we are in a “state of emergency”.
State of emergency. The ancient Romans called it Justitium. It is a government declaration that alerts citizens to change their normal behaviour and activates agencies to implement emergency plans for the good of the entire population. Focus and caution become the watch-words in a state of emergency.
Knowing the role you play is critical. You must know what to do, what not to do, where to go, where not to go. More than ever before in a modern society, everyone must do the right thing for the sake of the greater good.
I wonder if God has similar spiritual expectations of the citizens of His kingdom?
1 Thessalonians 5:15-24 (Read it here)
If by definition a “state of emergency” demands of people to change their behaviours to help others, then disciples of Christ entered into a “state of emergency” from the day of their baptism!
You may be thinking this is difficult at the best of times and impossible in the midst social-distancing and mandated quarantines! You are right, it is too hard for you.
That is why you must remember the last 5 words of the passage.
and he will do it.
Don’t dismiss this as magic or motivational slight-of-hand, no, God has a plan that you alter your normal behaviour for the good of others in this spiritual state of emergency; and he will succeed!
But isn’t it a little mystifying that the things that must be done, must be done by you, yet he will do it? Doesn’t it seem like inconsistent logic from God? Why is this passage so confusing?
It is not and he is not.
For example, picture a family home, every parent expects the small children to have basic responsibilities that are connected to their behaviour, and in most families of faith the high level list is as follows: 1) be good and do good 2) be happy 3) say your prayers and 4) be grateful.
That is all the children have to focus on. No need for the little ones to concern themselves with paying the bills, buying groceries, stocking the fridge, re-shingling the roof, plunging the toilet or cutting the lawn…the parent makes that happen. The parent will do it.
The small child has their life set up in such a way that they should not be distracted with things that are beyond their capability so they can focus on what’s expected of them…four things: do good, rejoice, pray and be thankful.
Do you see who you are in the analogy? (spoiler alert: you are the small child!)
There is much beyond your capability today. God will do it.
Your responsibility is:
do good to others. How can you do that today? Think about others right now and make an encouragement plan.
rejoice. What mindset do you need to adopt to channel joy from the inside out?
pray. When you finish reading this stop, (seriously stop) and pray. Short or long, just pray.
be thankful. This is a big one! Today, decide to lead the way in all your conversations to be grateful. Express thanks to each person you speak/text/email with. Be thankful for your home, clothes, food, health, friends, phone, neighbourhood, education, cat/dog/hamster, disruptions, glasses/contacts, your church, your income, certainty and uncertainty, etc.
Oh yes, and God. Be thankful more than ever for God.
He’s led you into the unknown today, into a state of emergency.
Get to work on your four things and remember, he will do it.
Kevin Robbins Mdiv - March 2020