Worthless Things

This is the season of “Back to School.” But in many parts of the country we aren’t back to school in the traditional sense. Parents have had to become homeschool teachers without any semblance of teacher training. Many now have to try to balance their own careers with teaching their kids at home.

This is the season of “Back to Church.” But in many parts of the country we aren’t back to church in the traditional sense. Preachers have had to become televangelists without any semblance of technical training. We have had to try to balance our usual clergy duties with not being able to use our buildings or do in-person visitations.

This is the season of “Fall Bible Study Sign-Ups.” But in many parts of the country we aren’t back to Bible studies in the traditional sense. Teachers are trying to negotiate how to do video-based curriculum on ZOOM, in-person classes in masks, or some hybrid of both.

Nothing is quite seasonal in this “season.” And nothing is normal. How can we learn then?

The psalmist speaks a longing of heart today that truly resonates with the desire we feel to be in God’s word and God’s house, regardless of our current season of trouble.

Psalm 119 (Common English Bible)

33 Lord, teach me what your statutes are about,
    and I will guard every part of them.
34 Help me understand so I can guard your Instruction
    and keep it with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the trail of your commandments
    because that is what I want.
36 Turn my heart to your laws,
    not to greedy gain.

Oh, how we long to return to life in the traditional sense! We long to attend church on Sundays so that we can understand God’s instructions and feel the protection of living inside his will for our lives. We want to walk a trail that God lays out before us that leads directly to him. We need Bible studies, Sunday School classes, small groups, youth group, the chance to do mission work, the joy of fellowship time, the opportunity to eat donuts, to sing in the choir….we need all the ways we typically learn about God. But in this season, living in God’s way will take a lot more effort on our part.

We need to turn our eyes away from looking at worthless things like regret over things not being “normal.”

37 Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things.
    Make me live by your way.
38 Confirm your promise to your servant—
    the promise that is for all those who honor you.

So what are you looking at? What has captured your attention and diverts you from seeking God? Is your nostalgic longing for the way things used to be preventing you from engaging in the way things are?

We’re tired. We’re frustrated. We want the normal things back. But until that happens, we must find a way in this season to return to God’s word and his presence. God’s rules are good. When we seek after learning he will help us live by his righteousness.

So find that Bible study and sign up! Make a concerted effort to attend worship this Sunday no matter how it is offered. Join a ZOOM small group. This is the season to reconnect regardless of ”how.” This is the season to reconnect even if it won’t be like it used to be. This is the season to just do it.

39 Remove the insults that I dread
    because your rules are good.
40 Look how I desire your precepts!
    Make me live by your righteousness
.

Sanctuary by Ann Marie Haywood