I am breaking my Lenten discipline of abstaining from social media for Lent. Not because I missed it or could not find other ways to spend time. I am breaking the discipline because of Satan. Let me explain…
When I was a kid growing up in church, the Sunday School teachers often talked about how Satan is always after you when you’re a Christian. They painted some pretty far-fetched pictures of how Satan was always watching and competing with God for your soul.
As a teenager and young adult, this entered my mind from time to time but was not something I thought about nearly as often as I did as a child. When I was in my thirties, I was in a discussion with some other folks of faith one time and one of the other folks commented how those that Satan can’t get to give up their faith, he simply makes them too busy to practice it. They are too busy for prayer or too busy to go to church, or too busy to take a minute to do something nice for someone.
Fast forward to the last week or so. If there is truth to the words of the folks of my lifetime, I can well imagine that Satan was quite pleased when churches began closing to arrest the spread of COVID19. In my mind’s eye, I can see Satan sitting in his office, feet up on the desk, and rubbing his hands together with glee at the very thought that approaching the most holy time of the church year, Holy Week and Easter, churches are closed.
This morning, as I logged in to the services of churches including the 3 parishes I serve, I could not help but be reminded of these childhood descriptions of how Satan works. Admittedly, I chuckled to myself at the power of the Spirit brought alive on the computer screen in my study at home where people were sharing in each other lives, and worshipping together, and yes, even having ‘virtual coffee hour’. Again, I see the power of God is stronger. The church building is closed. The church is open and alive!
You see friends, my Lenten discipline was originally conceived to spend more time with God in place of being “social.” I was not anticipating the Coronavirus and its impact on our society, to be sure. But this is what I know, I know that we are called to be in community with each other. I believe that God is smiling at how we, as a community of believers, have used our ingenuity and flexibility. I am confident that God is with those that feel challenged by technology that they are open to learning to be with each other in this electronic church.
Just like God chose David and Samuel anointed him in the reading from I Samuel from today’s readings, we are chosen through our faith and spirit to continue to be with each other in worship, in community, and in support and help of each other in these times.
If Coronavirus is a metaphor for the stories of Satan from my youth, then I have no doubt that God is filling us with courage and strength to navigate the course of what we face today and, in the weeks to come.