There is group of writers within the United Church of Christ denomination known as the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group. Throughout the pandemic, they have worked diligently to support ministers and provide resources for churches during this challenging time. Recently, I received a “freebie” in the mail from them – a small book titled, “What If?: A Pocket Portion of Post-Pandemic Ponderments.” The book is simple – each page contains a single question for churches to ponder as they look ahead to post-pandemic life. As I glanced through the book, there was one question in particular that stood out to me:
What if you spent as much time thinking about spiritual and emotional lives as you have spent thinking about physical bodies during the pandemic?
It’s true – during this time we have become so aware of our own health and what measures we can take to keep ourselves safe. We wear masks, we sanitize until our hands our raw, and we avoid large crowds and indoor activities. I have heard from so many of you about how many less colds and flus you’ve had this year!
Like the Stillspeaking Writers, I find myself wondering how different our church community would be if we spent as much time steeling ourselves against infections of the soul. What if we did our best to sanitize the negativity and gossip we sometimes find ourselves participating in? What if we refused to let the germs of distrust and judgment take hold in our community? What if we put our opinions through a filter of love before sharing them?
It seems like our spiritual lives would also come down with less illness. I imagine that we would have to spend less time recovering and would be more free to do the work we are called to do.
Church, let us each do our part to leave the spiritual germs outside as we engage in the work of ministry together!