It Is Good to Be Thankful: Appreciation makes the world a better place…
The pandemic has changed the face of church as we knew it. Many churches closed their doors due to COVID-19 and never reopened. Those who did reopen found that attendance was way down and that providing some sort of online service was almost mandatory to keep functioning. Some people are still uncomfortable being in large groups. Others have grown accustomed to the convenience of a Zoom church service.
Many who choose to go back to church find it’s not the way it used to be. Church singing or choral music may be restricted. Those wonderful potlucks have scaled down quite a bit. Cookies and coffee may become the norm. Keeping everyone connected, offering support, and maintaining a spiritual bond with others is quite a challenge.
I’ve heard so many pine for the past. However, nostalgia can be a flawed idealization of what used to be. I’m not saying we didn’t have some good times, but if we are truthful, church change was in the air before the pandemic. In some ways, it just hastened what was already happening.
Yes, we had some good times! Should we lament what we think we’ve lost from the past and try to recapture those “good old days?” Or should we be thankful for what we had so those good times are not wasted? After all, they may have laid the foundation for whatever God is choosing to do now. God moves on. He is not stuck in the past. He is not tied to tradition or the way we would like things to be.
We, like so many previous church history generations, won’t really know what God is doing right now until it is done. If we knew, we wouldn’t need faith and all those spiritual attributes we learn about in the Bible—God’s Word.
I know I’ve used the example of Zerubbabel rebuilding King Solomon’s temple many times, but it really speaks to me about not looking back at the way things used to be but looking forward to what God is doing now. Rebuilding this second temple was a long, arduous project. Plus, this rebuilding seemed pitiful and small (Zechariah 4:10) compared to the grandeur and splendor that once was (Haggai 2:3). Yet, it was God’s work. Sometimes we forget that God is in charge.
Lamenting about what once was can leave us stagnant. Perhaps it’s better to work with what we have available, ask for God’s guidance, move forward, and embrace what lies ahead. I’m so thankful God is in control. We may not always know what God is doing, but we can rest assured that He has everything under control.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord…” ~ Psalms 92:1 (KJV