I've seen many blogs and Facebook posts about how the coronavirus has given us time to connect with God, time to be introspective.
This has been one of the consequences of the coronavirus calamity. It has jolted us out of our routine, out of our complacency.
By forcing a few of us into quarantine and requiring most of us to be homebound, we have been forced to confront ourselves and the bigger questions in life. After all, how many Netflix movies can we watch?
And so, the usual veneer of our lives has been stripped away. Some of the "noise" in our lives has been quieted. Some of the "busy-ness" has dissipated.
Even for those of us working from home, there is a sense of isolation. The water cooler discussions and interactions with co-workers are gone. "Zoom" meetings, though certainly a technological marvel, lack the zing of a regular face-to-face meeting.
That all of this is occurring during the Lenten season should underscore its significance for Christians. The Lenten season is supposed to be about these same qualities: penitence, introspection, self-assessment.
My question for us all is simply this: What will we do when the epidemic runs its course?
So often when we are in crisis we try to bargain with God. We pray for deliverance and promise to stop doing this or that if God can help us pull through. But almost inevitably, after the crisis passes, we begin to backpedal.
So, rather than trying to stop doing something, start doing something. Prayer is a good start. Resolve to say a short prayer just before you get up in the morning, before meals, and before bed. Pray for strength.
And something else too -- something I learned long ago as a hospital chaplain under the tutelage of Father John Blair. As we go forward with our lives, think carefully and deliberately about every interaction we have with others.
Think carefully about our demeanor and our words.
And remember who we are, especially at a time like this. Every person we come into contact with is a child of God. Those preparing our carry-out meals, those working at the gas station, those checking us out at the grocery store, and on and on. They are, for the most part, underpaid and overworked. We owe them a debt, for while so many of are we are safe at home in our cocoon, they were interacting with dozens, perhaps even hundreds daily.
So, thank them. Ask about their lives, then pray for them. And don't stop when the coronavirus epidemic runs its course.
Remember that, as Christians, we have a foot in two worlds -- the earthly kingdom of humanity and the heavenly kingdom of God. Paul reminds us in Rom. 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."