By Patti Johnson
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
The week after our church board made the decision to postpone in person services in the middle of March because of the rising concern of the COVID-19 virus in our community, my husband as the pastor of the church said to me, “I wish I had one more week in person with our church to prepare them for what is to come.” That comes from the heart of a shepherd.
He was least concerned about how he was going to handle the Saturday recordings of his message than he was that he was now separated physically from those God had entrusted to his care. He had many unknowns in front of him, many more than he realized in those early days, but his heart kept reaching out to the people and wanting to “in person” care for them.
Over the next months as it looked like it would be much longer than anyone anticipated before we were back together for in person services, we talked a lot about that “last Sunday together”. It served as a reminder and catalyst to watch our days and to inquire of God how we were to spend them in wisdom.
We purposed to inquire of God all along the way for wisdom and for a sensitivity to the importance of our days.
During this time apart, several of our church folks passed away and again we were faced with separation as protocols and restrictions had increased to keep people safe, but apart. Decisions never before in the forefront of grief were now a part of our lives and now a part of a pastor’s life to shepherd his hurting congregation.
Each day seemed to bring a new dilemma in leadership and a new path to a brand-new decision. But time and time again, our conversation at home rested on that “last Sunday together” and served to encourage and inspire us to reach to numbering our days with wisdom.
Now with six months gone by being separated from in-person worship, we are again meeting for in-person service. Not everyone has returned and everyone is masked but we are there, in person, together.
What do we bring out of this time?
A deep appreciation for our numbered days, of life and of being together in person, to worship together, to look at one another without filters over our faces, to see smiles, or to see frowns, or to see familiar expressions of care, concern, and laughter. To know that if we ask, God will teach us the wisdom we need to live out our days, those we expect and those that are unexpected.
COVID has changed the landscape of much of what our days once were. But God has not changed and is delighted to teach us to number our days, in appreciation for the gift that they are, and teach us to live them out, one by one with a heart of wisdom.
Going forward, each time we now walk into the church building we are ever mindful of that “last Sunday together” and the lessons of life it taught us.
How has COVID taught you to number your days with a heart of wisdom?