There is this old saying that has been passed
down from generation to generation of
pastors. It goes something like this:
“Well, they didn’t teach us that in seminary!”
That old saying has been on my mind during 2020. The first time was March 12th, when the order to close and quarantine was announced. Dealing with a pandemic (the mere word expresses its global reach) was something new to everyone, except for those centenarians who lived through the 1918 pandemic.
And it looks like we will be dealing with it well into next year. I get frustrated about it too. Which reminded me why we need each other very much right now. To hold us up in time of despair. To remain ever vigilant by sticking with the proven means of prevention and precaution, and not succumbing to what has been called “COVID fatigue”
The second time I thought of that old phrase was on September 9th, when I arrived at church to see about ten fire trucks in the parking lot. Not just in my ministry, but never in my life and careers had I been so close and so involved with a situation like this one.
And we’ll be dealing with this, but for a shorter period of time than the pandemic. Which reminded me of why we need each other right now. To hold us up in times of despair. And to remain helpful and patient as the work to repair is done.
No, they never taught us that in seminary. But they did teach us about the one on whom to rely. The one who is the source of our strength, compassion, love, mercy, peace, patience, and help. Through our baptism into Christ, we are united with him, and with each other for all time, through all circumstances. The peace that only Christ can give, remains.
“Sustain us with the gift of the Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever” (ELW p.231).
Clifton D. Eshbach,