They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. (Colossians 2:19)
Life during this pandemic has been difficult and compromising, to say the very least. Even now, with some of the original restrictions lifted, I still work remotely a fair amount of the time. My family still experiences church only online, since right now our kids are too young to get vaccinated.
I am glad to still have the option of working remotely, but it has its challenges. The comforts and relaxing surroundings of home without the kids, along with the want or need to get some household chores done during the day, can be quite distracting as I still have to multi-task to meet tight deadlines for my job. Certain tasks are harder to do at home because even with an extra monitor I do not have as much screen width as I do in the office, and my computer is slower if I am dealing with a lot of data. And on many occasions, I have lost the connection with the work server and must go through the frustrating process of reconnecting. Sometimes I will get a bunch of new passwords texted to me at one time and have to figure out which one is correct.
In the same way, watching the live stream of church on Sundays is not the same as being there. Technical difficulties and distraction of kids doing other things aside, we miss the true atmosphere of worship, which lessens the experience. We also miss the opportunity to fellowship with others (and want our kids to socialize too!) and to potentially serve in other ways.
And while I will always observe mask mandates and keep my mask on whenever I am around others in a public place, I sometimes cannot help feeling hindered by it. My glasses fog up a little despite the nose guards on my masks, and I will sometimes feel a little short of breath when I wear my mask for an extended period.
Believe it or not, all these challenges are not so very different from that of keeping centered and focused on God in our lives. As long as we exist here on Earth, we have a remote connection to God and His kingdom through Jesus Christ. We will not have a complete field of vision into the realm of Heaven, we have our limits as individuals in our own human bodies, and there will always be distractions in our lives that threaten to weaken or even temporarily sever the connection. The test of faith is to have the will to re-establish and strengthen the connection whatever the surrounding circumstances.
The season of Advent is the time of celebration of the ultimate event that made this connection possible. As we once again have the chance to rejoice in the gift of Jesus coming to Earth, and the peace, hope, joy, and love, perhaps we also should reflect on questions like these:
· What are the “technical difficulties” in our lives right now?
· In what ways are we struggling to fully experience and respond to God’s presence?
· Could we be holding ourselves back in any way?
Eventually, we will all be able to gather together and experience a more “normal” life again when the risk of COVID-19 is sufficiently subdued. And every one of us who believes will be able to look forward to one day fully breathing in and living without any hindrance in the perfection of Heaven. Until then, I pray that God will enable each of us to make the absolute most of what we have, and remotely connect with Him as fully as possible.