Coronavirus didn’t interrupt our usual pursuits, it threw a rod. Normal exploded, and like Humpty Dumpty, cannot be put back together the same way. Many applicable “R” words (i.e: refine, reformat) apply to this season of change. This post lists twenty R-words with brief notes. COVID-19 offers a powerful opportunity to reflect, revise, and revive.
Economies, industries, families, and nations face circumstances never considered possible, much less imminent. Fear is everywhere; fear of death, loss of livelihood, loss of liberty, and separation from loved ones.
The world that welcomed in a new year and new decade only months ago is now history and few can imagine what the new normal will look like. There’s no escaping the diplomatic, political, medical, social, and economic impact of the virus.
Whether responses were understated or over played, COVID-19 is a global pandemic with both spiritual opportunity and consequence.
Forced to Look into a Spiritual Mirror
This season of the unknown forces Christians to face the truth of their beliefs, unless they bury their heads in the sand. Should you or loved ones face impending physical or economic death, the state of your faith must be addressed.
How does your spiritual reflection answer these questions?
- Does God really have control over this?
- Do you believe you will never be abandoned?
- Is my present and eternity safe in God’s hands?
- Am I afraid? If so, of what?
- Are the people I serve afraid? Why?
If you haven’t considered the state of your faith yet, what must change before you open that door? Routine airline safety messages instruct passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before assisting others. Until you face your own questions you can’t help anyone else.
To want to just transition, or make it through, or survive to the other side of this pandemic would likely put us right back in the same or similar challenging situations many of our churches and our denomination were facing beforehand. And for many, in a weakened state! Moreover, I don’t believe it would be faithful for us to put our time and energy into transitioning or surviving to the other side of this pandemic – to work to have things return to “normal,” to our old ways of doing and being the church.
Rev. David Cleaver-Bartholomew
The R-Words of COVID-19 Quarantine
The prefix re- generally indicates repetition or backwards motion. Some words in this list have specific meanings in the context of faith. Read through the list and the note following each R-word. Consider how each one applies to your circumstance.
R- Words of Opportunity
- Review – Recognize where you are and where you are no longer.
- Retrench – Pull back (retreat) where necessary and fine tune your stewardship.
- Recalibrate – What’s less important than it used to be? More important?
- Readjust – Consider changes in your schedule, finance, and relationships.
- Reformat – Prepare to wipe clean some old slates to prepare them for change.
- Relief – God is enough. Eternity is set. You are safe.
- Reborn – The Holy Spirit transforms. This world is no longer your home.
- Revive – Rekindle the first flame of love for Jesus Christ as He is, not as He isn’t.
- Reset – Read God’s Word. Go to the source of truth. What needs recalibration or outright rejection?
- Reflect – Take time to scratch aging layers of paint from old habits and consider better ones.
- Renegotiate – Reset relationships that need it.
- Rewrite – Change the direction of your story. This is the perfect time to pivot. You won’t have to explain it as much as you would have before COVID.
- Restructure – Expand what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
- Reconcile – Be at peace with who you are and who Jesus will help you to be. Be at peace with everyone else.
- Receive – Open your arms to the wisdom, healing, and power of God’s spirit.
- Release – Open the prison gates and let all negativity escape. Forgive yourself and others.
- Repent – Identify what you held on to that you shouldn’t have. Let it go, then turn and never let it return.
- Reveal – Show a peaceful countenance to others.
- Refine – Shine up new treasures and offer them to anyone who asks you to share.
- Rejoice – Eternity is secure. Today is an opportunity. Jesus Christ is risen!
The Example Set by William Borden
William Borden traveled around the world in 1904 as a high school graduation present. Although extremely wealthy, Borden developed a conviction to serve as a foreign missionary. While studying at Yale, he transformed the student body through discipleship and widespread prayer groups.
After finishing graduate studies at Princeton, Borden sailed to the Middle East to serve Muslims, learning Arabic in Egypt. While there he became ill and died at the age of 25.
Borden wrote these phrases in the back of his bible at different times. They describe a life joyfully laid at the feet of the Cross.
No reserve. No retreat. No regret.
Should we do any less?
Related post: Playing Chicken with God- Presumption and Repentance
An Engaging and Timely Challenge for Christians
This is the perfect opportunity to challenge your beliefs. Invest some time in this Bible study offering new questions and perspective on the times we live in. On March 11, 2011, I received the assignment to write Rapture and Revelation, introduced with an 11-word message.
That short message changed the direction of a ministry and guides readers into a study of “in that day.” This book doesn’t tell you what to believe, but refuses to leave itching ears in peace. If you’re willing, you’ll discover why you believe as you do.
And that is the beginning of revival.
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I so appreciate your mind, and more, your heart, which obviously belongs to God.
I also respect your style . I am thankful for how you communicate with clarity, and you do not mince words, but always love is your language.
If you have something to say, I make a point to discover what it is.
This last issue is no exception from all of the above.
It is my special treat to ‘know you’ and I hope that continues.
Cheryl, this is one of the nicest notes I’ve ever received. Thank you so much. The feeling is mutual.
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