Recently Jed reminded us to be careful not to consume more information about this current COVID surge than we need to in order to make the decisions we need to make. This is a good corrective for someone like me. By nature, I’m an information sponge and I don’t know when to stop. Let’s say I read five articles, two opposing opinion pieces, a study mentioned in one of the articles, and a podcast featuring a panel discussion among experts. Is that enough?
We all have unusual decisions that we have to make these days, decisions that we are not equipped to make. Today my daughter’s preschool that normally keeps kids in pods to limit COVID exposure had to combine classes because there are so many teachers and students out. They asked how I felt about it before I brought her to school and I am so fatigued from COVID decision making that couldn’t come up with any response. Could you give me a minute to look up a study or two?
Here we are in a third wave when we had hoped that the pandemic would be behind us by now. What are we doing? Even when we are disoriented by disruptions to our lives and more information than we can possible process our most essential calling is as a follower of Jesus. He calls us to, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).
So, what to you need to know to love God? I think that loving God is rooted in believing in his goodness and faithfulness and I find that reading and meditating on scripture helps me to do that. God has been faithful to generations of people who believe in him and is, right now, restoring the world to reflect his goodness through his Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit at work in his people. When my mind is filled with what the Bible teaches us about the kingdom of God my prayers take that shape as well and I am filled with love for God and hope for his work in the world.
And what do you need to know to love your neighbor? We love God by loving our neighbors. And if we want to love them as he would we need an orientation toward what is coming, the kingdom of God which is the world as God intends it. This means we pursue wholeness and reconciliation in all relationships. We need to put love into action in a way that our neighbors can see and experience. Our actions should actually feel like love to them — no one is called to show “tough love” to their neighbors. What do the people in your life need most today?
COVID adds a wrinkle to this because part of loving our neighbors is keeping an eye on conditions in our community and adapting appropriately. It is easy to isolate in our homes or continue about as usual, ignoring conditions that aren’t personally affecting us. But when schools can’t operate normally due to mass teacher absences or stores are so understaffed that the shelves are empty, this is a call to assess the risks and love in careful, creative, and thoughtful ways.
The human need is so great right now. And you are empowered to bring the love of God to every person you meet. Whether you are desperate to get back to normal or anxious about how COVID will continue to to disrupt or lives, we are still called to love God and love our neighbors. What do you need to know to love God and your neighbors today?