This is a portion of a letter sent from to members of Duncan and Sunny Level United Methodist Churches in Alexander City.
I invite you to read Matthew 6:16-18 then return to the thoughts below.
A few weeks ago we talked about the scripture above in our worship time. Looking forward at that point to the season of Lent that was just beginning, we looked at what it might be God is calling us to give up or take up for these 40 days.
Little did we know at that time what was coming during Lent 2020.
We are now in the middle of fasting from a lot of things in ways we didn’t anticipate and really don’t want. And yet this is the place in which we are still called to experience Christ’s presence, listen for His spirit and find ways to love others.
Today, I’m thinking again of fasting and what that could mean in our current situations.
Stuck at home, limiting time out, paying attention to distance between ourselves and others, washing our hands more times in a day than we ever imagined, we have found ourselves in a time of fasting from the contact we usually take for granted. We’re fasting from group worship, study groups, fellowship times, friends and even extended family gatherings.
We’re fasting from handshakes, hugs or even from conversations with anybody closer than 6 feet.
It may be you’re really missing those things right now. People are made to be with other people and so this unprecedented time of separation is a shock to our collective system.
Fortunately, we have ways to maintain some connections. Although not as a good as the physical closeness we crave, we have lots of ways to connect online and, of course, the phone we may so often avoid using is there, waiting to be picked up again. Reach out in those ways where and when you need to and are able.
Know there are brothers and sisters who are also trying to navigate through all this and would love to hear from you.
Even though this is a time of frustration and stress, know this fasting space in which we find ourselves can also have benefit. In the times of quiet we may not often get, it may be we are able to listen for God’s spirit more intently than in all the busyness before.
As I mentioned Sunday morning, I hope we can all take those extra minutes of, “What am I supposed to do today?” or “I’m so bored,” and turn them into opportunities to exercise our spiritual muscles.
Find scripture in new and deeper ways.
Spend extra time in prayer for yourself, your brothers and sisters nearby and around the world.
Listen for spirit.
Reach out and share with friends, family and those in need in new ways.
Know whatever trouble and stress the world throws at us God is as close as your next breath, looking to make good from all of the bad.
Rev. Wayne Hicks
Duncan and Sunny Level UMC