Day 48 – Carpe Diem, even the chaos
Prayer for the week
Start you day with this prayer
Lord, our Creator, we still find ourselves in liminality. We are realising, more and more, that we can never return to our lives as it were before Covid-19; and at the same time we don’t know what a life without Covid-19 even looks like. It feels as if the pause button has been pressed, while life must carry on in some way or another, and we try to keep some semblance of normality and routine.
Some of us had big dreams and plans for this year and for the immediate future, Lord, and it’s a heavy burden to know that these must be postponed or altered indefinitely. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, family gatherings, time with friends, visiting grandparents just aren’t possible at this time. We miss those we love, those we so sorely want to embrace, and whom we want to hold and reassure that we care about them and have not forgotten them.
We are worried about those that are ill and in hospital. And it hurts even more to lose someone in this time, especially as we cannot be surrounded by a caring community. Our hearts are filled with emotion, Lord. The uncertainty makes us feel rebellious, tired, sad, angry and hopeless.
May You, the great Comforter, remind us that You are close to us and that we are your children, that we breathe life through your Holy Spirit, and in doing so can inhale your comforting grace. Show us how we can still dream, still cling to the hope that a time will come when we can experience community again.
Help us, Lord, to reach out to each person who feels alone in this time. May we be representatives of You, the living God, who loves and cares for us with undying, uncomprehending love.
Read this reflection on the text for the day.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light – Genesis 14:1-3.
In rugby there’s a well-known rule called “use it or lose it”. This is also true for intelligence, says the neuroscientists. If you stop using certain brain functions, you may lose some of the these abilities. Spiritual intelligence works the same way – use it or lose it.
This is why you should practice living one day at a time for God. Start today. It will change the rest of your day entirely. And tomorrow as well, if God grants you to live in that time zone. But here and now you should make the right choices so that you can build a road for the people around you, a road that they will be able to see clearly. Leave your footprints behind those of the Rock, Jesus. Then there will be a good road paved for others. You owe them this.
Live every day in the light of God’s priorities. Plan well so that failure doesn’t become a companion on your journey. Don’t live indiscriminately. But also don’t be afraid of uncertainty and chaos. Despite all of those who only live for the future, for whom chaos is a threat because it distorts the routine and order of the world, you should flourish in the now.
Why? Because you know Jesus came to bring light to the darkness. The Hebrew word that we translate with “formless”, can also be translated as “chaos”. Chaos is God’s favourite place to work, not safe havens. That is why the chaos around you will not threaten you. This is your work space! Now, off you go, make the most of today, hour for hour!
Creator-God, help me to cling to You in chaos and uncertainty, and to see it as an opportunity where You can use me to bring light to the darkness. Amen.
Liturgy for life
See the ordinary things you do in and around the house as signs of God’s care.
This week: Think differently about your cell phone charger
I don’t phone my wife often. Not because I don’t want to. I don’t have to. My office and her office are 10 steps apart in our house. We meet each other in the hallway when we want to talk about something. She doesn’t expect me to call her. But every once in a while she has to go to the city for meetings, and then I phone her … if her phone’s battery has not died.
In the last few years it has happened often that she sent me a message that her phone’s battery is about to die and that I should phone her now, otherwise I won’t be able to reach her. I’ve teased her many times about this dead cell phone and then refer to the story Jesus told about the 10 servant girls and their lamps. “Your lamp is going out again …” is a saying in our house that refers to a dead cell phone.
But what was Jesus’ true intention with this parable? Here is an attempt at a modern version.
Imagine you have a teenage girl at home. She and her highschool sweetheart were torn apart by the monster called Lockdown. The boyfriend lives on the edge of the Karoo and they don’t have good cell phone reception there. He lets her know via SMS that he will be phoning her later that day. She will make sure that her phone is charged. She might even arrange for a power bank or a generator, just to make sure her phone is ready for that call. It gets late, and she falls asleep, but when the call comes through around 00:15 she is wide awake and her phone is charged. There is great joy in the house because she could speak to her loved one again.
The point of this story is that we should wait with anticipation and hope.
Currently we must also wait with hope and anticipation for what is to come. It’s the same kind of waiting that Jesus’ parable asks of us as believers. This Covid-19 time can be a very suited metaphor to help us think about the time all believers are waiting for: the end of times, the second coming of our Lord. We should be prepared for this new time, even if we don’t know when it will arrive.
What do we do to prepare? We live according to the Bible. We love one other and ourselves. We take care of other people. We repair what is broken. We practice love in our homes.
Start a new habit this week every time you charge your phone. Remind yourself of the parable of the 10 servant girls that Jesus told and ask yourself if you are living with hope and anticipation today for the time to come. Charge your phone, fill your lamp, because the wonderful day will arrive when the call comes through.
Play with your children.
Wow! 21 Days of isolation. 21 Days in which we’re only allowed to be in our homes (or gardens) and can only go out for the most essential things like food and medicine. It can be a little rough! All the things we usually do during the day, like school, sport, church … are not happening anymore. It can really confuse you and maybe even bore you a little. These daily readings will help you to spend some time with Jesus every day in a creative and fun way. You can do these readings and activities by yourself, with your siblings, or with your entire family. Ask one of the grownups to post your activity on Facebook so that others can enjoy it with you. Tag it with #solitudecalendar #churchtogether
Some people are afraid of the dark. Maybe you’re one of them. Actually we aren’t scared of the dark; we’re scared of the uncertainty, because we don’t know what goes on in the dark.
At the beginning the earth was dark and formless, but God had other plans for the earth. One of the first things that God did, was to create light. This light still chases away the darkness so that we don’t have to be scared. Jesus’ light is not like that of a flashlight; Jesus’ light chases away all the things that scare us.
– What do you think it means that we should make Jesus’ light shine so that others may see it?
– What can we do to make Jesus’ light shine brightly?
Tonight, sit in your room with the lights off and turn on your flashlight. Shine the light around in your room. When the light falls on something, pray and thank God for that object and the things it reminds you of. Here’s an example: If the light of your flashlight falls on the window, thank God for nature.
Look at this week’s illustration.
Talk to the people in your home or with your friends on WhatsApp about the illustration.
– What stands out to you?
– Take note of the things you see, but also of the things that aren’t present in the illustration.
– What would you like to add?
– How does this illustration connect with today’s Scripture, and how not?
Create your own interpretation of the illustration through any medium: dance, photography, videography, music, poetry, drawing, painting or short stories.
Record it and share it with us on social media with the hashtag #countdowndoodles