So much noise...

The last few days have been weird. I mean, email after email from businesses I forgot even existed have emailed me. On social media post after post about toilet paper.

I don't know what else seems to have proliferated in your life now that we are working our way towards "the curve" but I bet you've noticed what I've noticed...

Preacher after preacher after preacher posting their thoughts online. They are everywhere. People I haven't seen in years, there they are - in their full shell-shocked-I-don't-know-what-instagram-is glory. Video after video of people praying and reading Scripture and suggesting things to calm your fears. Livestream after livestream of people praying and reading the Bible and comforting and challenging and talking. Churches I didn't know existed are livestreaming. It doesn't seem like it will EVER end! Brian Erickson won't shut up!

And you know what I think? Good. Give me more. I hope it never stops.

Truth is, maybe we haven't really used tech to truly create community. For all the talk of creating Sabbath by getting off social media, I, like so many others, don't know how I'd get by without it right now. It reminds me of this God, who loves to even use instruments of death as a way to bring new life. Sorry, it isn't Easter yet, I got carried away.

There is a lot of room for figuring out how to do this better. And I applaud those who will return to social media at the end of Lent to discover the ground has shifted. (I read there is some German Big Brother type show where the people have been in the house since February 6th and no one has told them about the coronavirus) We have a long way to go, together. Like our Senior Pastor, Jim Sanders reminds us so often - inhale faith, exhale fear.

But for now? Spit it out. Tell me what you think. Share with everyone in any way you can (safely) a good word of encouragement. Share your reality even. Share your tricks or dreams or quotes. Like our Executive Pastor, Mary Noble Parrish, has reminded us the past few days - share where you've seen God!

If you aren't a preacher, please, don't leave it to the preachers. We aren't always the smartest, most eloquent, or best informed. Somewhere we got into our heads that we have something to say that will benefit the people care about. We risk rejection, embarrassment, and the eternal memory of the internet just to try and be nice to people.

You can too. This is not just an existential crisis for so many of us. It is a life or death struggle. Set aside that fear and add to the chorus cheering others on. Tell your friends how you love them. Give someone that recipe that you've always loved but were afraid would be too weird. Share your thoughts on Scripture, pray together over skype, share it all. Every bit. Let's overload google and facebook and every platform we can take with faith, hope, and love.

Two great conversations I've had left me dreaming about what is possible.

First, my friend Eric said everyone should, "act like you've got the virus." And while he definitely was referring to how we should make wise decisions interacting with people we share space with, I thought about how true this is for how Christians should go about loving God and loving neighbor. We need the greatest care. Let's be intentional, not isolated. Loneliness is a state of mind and even those with the virus (sin, if you'd like), have something to offer to move towards resurrection.

Second, my friend Clay said, "this is a great time to stop asking what we can do and instead ask who should we be." (of course he gave up twitter for Lent) For so long the church has functioned within the comfortable constraints of muscle memory. Now we have the opportunity to not just shift what we are doing, but get there by thinking about who we want to be in light of the resurrection. Look, no one would choose to create this turmoil. Who would will this suffering into being? Romans 8:28 makes me think differently about where I go from here.

I saw lots of people on twitter say they didn't plan on giving up so much for Lent. I didn't realize I'd receive so much. Keep it coming.