What are you longing for? The in-person gathering of your Bible study group? Attending a worship service where you can see the smile of the person you’re speaking with, that smile that has been hidden behind a mask for all too long? To be more personal, are you longing for the touch of another person: the hug of your grandchild or your best friend? Perhaps you long for a time to feel safe, to not worry if the person not wearing a mask could infect you?
How have the last two years changed what you long for? If you can think back to 2019, what did you long for then? Is it different from your 2022 longings? I imagine for most people there’s a great difference. What you longed for in 2019 may seem unimportant in the world we live in today, in 2022.
As the pandemic has moved through the stages we have experienced, I often wondered what God’s longing for from each of us is? As a Christian community, given the changed world we now live in and experience daily, what is God’s longing for you and me to do as we seek to live out our faithfulness to following Christ?
Do you think God’s longing for our world has changed in the last two years? Probably not, if I may be so bold to state what God is longing for. I believe God still longs for each person to know God’s love, for each of us to love God and to love our neighbor. Yes, I believe that God’s longing is constant.
I don’t believe that God longs for us to return to the past, to the way things were in 2019. I believe that God longs for us to continue to love neighbor and self, but within a new framework, a new way of being Christian. Actually, that’s probably been God’s longing for generation after generation as things changed over the centuries. God’s love has not changed, but the world has and the way God’s love is shared has changed.
Most of us have heard that the changes the pandemic has brought are permanent. There’s no going back. Yet, many long for the past. Many of us long for a return to the way things were.
Yet our responsibilities as Christ-followers have not changed, only the environment in which we operate has changed. Will we adjust and adapt so we may satisfy God’s longing for our world? Only each one of us as individuals can answer that question.
I pray that you look at our changed world as providing a new opportunity to serve God, that you would explore how to best share God’s love with your neighbor in our changed world. I hope you would share God’s longing for all to know God, that you take on that longing and act on it. I pray that you long for a new future, not the past, as you seek to serve God and neighbor.