April 16 Devotion

Chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  Light chocolate.  A person can’t eat chocolate while wearing a cloth mask.  And, it sounds like we’ll be encouraged to wear masks for quite a while when out in public.  A Harvard study suggested perhaps until 2022.  Yesterday when I shared a video devotion the US death toll was 28,000.  Today we’ve reached over 32,000.  All this in basically one month with many precautions in place.  It’s now obvious this is more than an annual flu season.  It’s also obvious life isn’t going to be back to normal on a set date in the next couple weeks.  So, it sounds like masks and varied degrees of social distancing are going to be part of a new future until a vaccine and cure for Covid-19 are found.

It’s disruptive.  Yesterday morning my wife and I searched for one of her lost cloth masks for 25 minutes.  Every evening she steps in the door, goes straight to the washing machine and throws her mask and all the clothes she wore in.  She sees a couple hundred people a day–some very resistant to social distancing.  Yesterday she was wearing red and looking for her red mask.  We checked the drier the laundry bins, the washed towels, the legs of pants.  No luck.  Life has changed.  Routines have changed.  New normals are evolving.  But, in the meantime stuff and time gets lost as we try to live life in new ways.
This Sunday’s gospel lesson comes from John 20, the latter part of the chapter.  Thomas is kind of bargaining with God.  He lays down an ultimatum.  “Until I see the risen Christ for myself.  Unless I put my finger in the holes in his hands, and my hand in the hole in his side, I will not believe.”  Some call him doubting Thomas.  I think of his as forthright and honest Thomas.  He’s at a point in his life when he needs a sign.
Yesterday, my wife sent me a photo of Dove Chocolate wrappers–from break and lunch when she removed her pink mask.  On the day of the lost red mask she was given a little sign.  She arranged the wrappers and here’s what they said, “Embrace optimism.  Spring is a promise of new hope.  Enjoy spring flowers – feel the sunshine.”  Thomas asked for a big sign.  Many days, however, even little signs will do.  Chocolate.  Some words of blessing.  What little signs of a gracious God are getting you through these days?  If you are writing notes or making calls to keep in touch with people, consider sharing a “little sign” of hope and encouragement with that other person.  Ask what’s “little signs” of hope they’ve glimpsed along the way.  It’s OK to need a sign.  It lifts our spirits to celebrate them together.
Oh, and that red mask.  It fell out of the shirt I put on this morning–along with an unmatched sock and lost car keys from 15 years ago.  (OK I made up the sock and the car keys).
Pastor Roger