Apr 9, 2020

Reflections on: Telling Time

Today’s reflection written by Amanda Kim, Director of Communications. Questions & comments: amanda.kim@gcconline.org. 

Happy Thursday! 

How do I know it’s Thursday? Because Thursdays are my Grace to Go days. 

The days really have been blurring together and this new normal has required all of us to establish new routines. For some, you may be finding yourself with a lot more time than you’ve ever had. Others may find yourself busier than ever. 

For me, the days have felt long at times, but then I’m surprised to see how fast time moves. Somehow… already four weeks have passed since our last in-person gathering! And as we have been preparing for Good Friday and Easter, I had a flashback to our initial planning meetings earlier this year… how our plans looked so different then and I never would have imagined that this is how our Easter season would be spent. That time felt like such a long time ago, yet I know it was just a few weeks ago… What an odd feeling! 

We all have these little reminders and ways that help us tell time. Workdays, school days, the sense of freedom that is unique to a Friday at 5PM, the laziness of a Saturday morning, the energy of a Sunday morning, Taco Tuesday, Throwback Thursday…

Telling time allows us to bring meaning to the stories and moments of our lives. And now, with this new normal – isn’t it interesting how the 5PM on a Friday just isn’t the same anymore? And we could eat tacos on any day, but there’s something a little more “fun” about eating them on a Tuesday.

Taking a step back from looking at the individual days, we can already start to see how this moment in history is going to define the year 2020, how the period of the Coronavirus Covid-19 will have an impact on our lives moving forward, how this particular pandemic will alter our economy, society, and institutions… and from there, we could take an even further step back.

When we look at our lives, the meaning of our life looks incredibly different when we look at it within the limits of our human, finite years, compared to the context of the infinite, grander, and cosmic story that God is writing.

And this story that He has been writing includes an incredibly important Sunday.

Palm Sunday: the beginning of Jesus’ last week before his crucifixion. Last Sunday, Pastor Mitchel walked us through Matthew 21:1-11.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, he was welcomed by a crowd that laid down their cloaks and waved palm branches, crying out HOSANNA.

They were eager to see him and welcome him. Jesus, our messiah, savior, Son of God, comes in on a donkey, fulfilling God’s promises. There is no pomp and circumstance, no parade, no sense of luxury or regal. He comes on a donkey, the picture of humility. That is the King we serve.

And the crowd cries out HOSANNA, which literally means SAVE, NOW. A cry of desperation.

So what does this day mean for us? How does telling time and remembering the Story help us now?

Do we need saving?

The obvious answer in light of this current Corona Wilderness is YES. We’re in circumstances beyond our control, beyond our government, beyond our technology, beyond our medical ingenuity and science. We have been ordered to stay home; we don’t know when and how this will all end; there are more questions than answers at this point.

But if we’re going to be honest, we all needed saving way before Coronavirus was a part of our everyday vernacular. This forced time of isolation and stillness have brought to the surface things we’ve been avoiding, or were buried so deep down that we didn’t know we were trying to drown it out with busy-ness. As things that we’ve built for ourselves are slowly stripped away – our schedules, our social lives/status, our meetings, our need to impress others, our need to work and produce – we are forced to confront the uncomfortable truth of the ugliness that lies deep within.

Hosanna…

  • from our instinct for self-preservation at the expense of loving our neighbor
  • from the fears that rule us as we try to control our lives
  • from the injustices that threaten the most vulnerable in our communities, the injustices that we largely ignore
  • from the racism that seeks to blame and point the finger
  • from our addiction to busy-ness and refusal to rest
  • from our obsession with our wealth and trust in our portfolios

That’s why we need to remember this particular story of Palm Sunday and the subsequent days that follow, because God doesn’t just leave us in our lost and defeated state. He comes, but not like we want. He doesn’t come like the national guard. He doesn’t come like a conquering king. He comes humbly. He arrived on a donkey. He identifies with us in our suffering. He takes on our pain and sorrow.

He wins our hearts even before he lifts our burdens, so that he can transform us. God comes sacrificially, in ways that surprise and turn everything around.

So we cry our Hosanna – save us – to our God who loved us to the point of death on a cross.

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