During July, our granddaughters, Elise and Nora stayed with Beverly and me during the week, and we were joined by mom and dad on the weekends. It was pure joy…and work and fun and a few tears. After dinner one night, we had ice cream cones, mint chocolate chip. Mmmmm.
Elise, who had her seventh birthday in July, asked, “Where are the sprinkles, Pop?” I pointed to an upper cabinet and said in there. Elise pulled herself up onto the countertop, opened the cabinet and found the sprinkles. As she was getting ready to jump down off the countertop, I put my hand out to help and she jumped to the floor without any help. I said, “Pretty good.” Elise asked, “Do you think I will make a good gymnast, Pop?” I said, “Elise, you will be good at anything you work to be good at.”
I am not sure she will ever be great enough to be in the Olympics, but she can be good with the right mindset and practice at any number of things.
Right now, these pandemic times just aren’t as good as other times. Right now, we are not being as good at doing some things. The pandemic has forced all of us to stop doing some things and get good at other things – social distancing, Zoom calls, masking, learning about vaccines, turning homes into workspaces and ministry online. But the things we enjoy being good at have not come as easily.
Maybe we have to assess and accept that some things will just have to be “good enough” and some things we just can’t do as what we once did. Many of our churches have had a much harder time attracting people to worship online or back to in-person worship or participating in small groups and hands-on mission. It has been frustrating and even demoralizing. Yet, right now, we may need to adjust expectations and focus on what we can do, particularly as new COVID-19 variants are making their way through the population.
One of the books I read this summer is Southernmost by Silas House. It is about a Church of God preacher who some would say fell from grace while others might say found grace. At one point at a very low ebb, his son asks, “What does God expect from us?” “Galatians 6:9,” his preacher father replied. This preacher/bishop had to look it up. “Don’t become weary of doing good.” Or as one of Wesley’s three simple rules says, “do all the good you can.” It is not about what we ought to do, or what we should do, but what we can do.
My advice to a weary church, a weary people, a weary pastor and church leader in a weary time, do what good you can do. Focus on what you can do and not what you used to do. There is a marvelous blessing in the new good.
With sprinkles in hand, Elise’s two feet landed on the floor, not a perfect dismount, but good enough to sit on the porch on a warm summer night and have some ice cream. And it was a good night.