Lenten Devotion 37 4.8.2020

The Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a fitting illustration for COVID 19 days. We are at the beginning of spring. The weather warms and everything seems to be coming back to life after the winter season. Easter is coming with all the traditional celebration. Our students get ready for year-end activities. Sports, dances, graduation. Some things we always look forward to each year. Then … COVID 19! It takes all the joy away. Or does it? In Whoville the Grinch has stolen all the trappings of what he believes Christmas is all about and is stunned that the Whos still celebrate. That is because the Whos are not celebrating tradition, they are praising God, whose presence is enough. So maybe we should do the same even as our spring traditions are cancelled or dampened.
 
Psalm 147
 
1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the broken-hearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
 
While COVID 19 has ostensibly taken away the trappings of spring, it has not. What do we praise God for? The flowers bloom and the trees burst forth. Life does, in fact, return. But there is more this year. Maybe we should praise God for the outpouring of social media togetherness we are experiencing. Look at the posts of mutual support. Watch the video collages of singers, musical instrumentalists and dancers who bring us inspiration and joy. Listen to our own Marielle Brown sing her own songs and cover others. It will all make you smile.
 
Then there is this. With everyone in lock down, we are seeing the environment react in amazing ways. Air pollution disappears. The waters of Venice are cleaner than they have been in a very long time. Animals are on the move. We have new hope that we might become good stewards of God’s creation and make it a bit more habitable than it has been. Maybe we will realize that our continual business is less important than our time with our loved ones and … yes … a bit of Sabbath.
 
Jesus changed the world for all creation. Maybe we can make some small changes based on our experiences during this pandemic.
 
Yes. Maybe we should praise the one who created all things this Easter for a whole bunch of different reasons.
 

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