This Sunday will mark our third Sunday since humanitarian measures have been put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 and protect our fellow humans, particularly the most vulnerable. We have seen many, unprecedented changes in the world since then. Some of you have experienced temporary (permanent?) job loss. Thankfully, no one that I know has experienced the loss of someone close due to COVID-19. On the other hand many of us have experienced loss in our stock portfolios and our retirement accounts. Mindful of this fact, I was a bit surprised talking to a financial advisor friend about how work was going. I was expecting tales of woe, despair and anxiety; however, what he said was that most of his clients were asking if this was a good time to buy!
Without minimizing the real loss that is occurring in our world, there is an important principle at work simultaneously, namely, that with loss also comes opportunity. While I am no expert on financial matters, I do see this principle at work as a principle of the Kingdom that Jesus came to inaugurate. We are familiar with such statements as “the least will be the greatest” (cf. Mt. 23:11, Lk. 9:48). Even more pointedly Jesus says plainly that to gain insight into the heart of God we must lose everything. It's the path to gain the kingdom (cf. Mk. 8:35). So an appropriate question during this time of loss is what are we gaining?
While I cannot answer that for each individual, I can say that I am so encouraged by the way that I have seen the body of Christ exercise its muscle during these COVID-19 days. Around the world Christians are finding creative ways to love neighbors well and to offer hope and encouragement like here and here. Closer to home, the body of Christ at Christ Church has leapt into motion with calls, cards and other forms of creative connecting. In a time when the market on public meetings has crashed, we have been buying stock in alternate ways to declare the love that our Father has for us!
As many of you know tomorrow has been declared a day of fasting and prayer by the Great Lakes Presbytery. Sticking with our analogy, in addition to praying for the health and well being of the world, this is also a time to analyze the market of our own hearts and in an era of loss make some strategic buys! It is time to buy into such truths as simpler lives can lead to different joys or our hope really is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; not our stocks, our entertainment experiences or even our freedom to move about freely. I strongly encourage you to receive the gift of this day of prayer and fasting. Let us not waste our COVID lay off! There is treasure to be gained.