The longer the pandemic lingers, the more time we have for perspective.  Today’s reflection is a thought exercise:  Better Or Worse?  My answers are below; see if you feel the same (there are no incorrect answers).

Your Spring:  Better Or Worse?
Was your spring better or worse than a typical spring?
For me, this is the easiest question of the batch.  Spring was terrible!

Your Summer:  Better Or Worse?
This is a tough one.  I didn’t do a lot of things I would normally do: no mission trip, no concerts, no get-togethers, no movie theaters.  I spent much less time at the beach than usual.  I saw fewer friends.  But I really appreciated everything I was able to experience: every sunny day, every hour at the ocean, every church service, every small gathering, even the weekly trip to the grocery store.  So it’s a toss-up for me, but I’m leaning toward saying that this summer was better than usual, which gives me the encouragement that fall might not be so bad after all.

Church:  Better Or Worse?
This is a difficult question, because church is different now: both in person and online.  In-person church is a different type of good, because it seems more spiritual and fragile and essential ~ but it’s not better than in-person church was before the pandemic, because it lacks some key components, including boisterous singing, holding hands, the children’s time, communion, and Coffee Hour.  However, online church is definitely better than no online church, and we’re realizing that we should have been doing it all along.  The stories we hear from people at home are incredible, and we’re glad you’re viewing!  Also, because of the pandemic, the United Methodist Church didn’t split in two as it had planned … so I’m going to go with an overall better on this one (although it’s close).

Earth:  Better Or Worse?
In terms of poverty, employment, physical health and mental health, the people of Earth are worse than they were before the pandemic.  There are signs that they are better spiritually and more community minded, but these signs don’t outweigh the former.  However, the planet is having a great time.  With carbon emissions lowered, tourism down and industry slowed, nature is having – pardon the expression – a field day.  Yay Earth?

Whether we call it mindset, attitude, or reaction, our faith gives us the ability to transcend our circumstances.  By holding onto our faith and clinging to the Rock (not Dwayne Johnson, the other Rock), we might find that this year was not a complete disaster.  If we allow the Lord to realign our perspective and our priorities, we may find that we were blessed all along.  Though many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; twas faith that brought me safe thus far, and faith will lead me home.