The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. For today’s musical pairing, try the theme from The Mission by Ennio Morricone. All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
Meditation 19. 2,224,426 confirmed cases, 153,177 deaths globally.
Even those among us whose souls breathe in solitude find ourselves pining in this season of pandemic for the simple graces of human connection. We live in “a time to refrain from embracing.” When will it be “a time to embrace” again?
Some of us are sick and quarantined from the rest of the world. The air around us grows heavy with silence, and the door to our room or apartment or home has become the horizon of the world we inhabit. Others of us are enclosed with family or friends but cut off from our communities. It is painful. We ache to be together.
One of the more profound truths of the Christian theological tradition is that community is intrinsic to the God in whose image we are created. The doctrine of the Trinity is not an accommodation to our lesser intelligence. It is essential to the nature of God from all eternity. God in his fullness is irreducibly relational, and we image him together more fully than apart.
We experience the truth of our theology in moments such as these. When we laugh, we yearn to laugh together. When we weep, we yearn to weep together. We are made for one another. In the words of Khalil Gibran, “a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree.” Our lives are intertwined, folded together, each of us delicately implicated in one another. We cannot be ourselves apart from those we love.
The Teacher in Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (v. 11).
This solitude is beautiful in its time. It invites us to hear the echoes of the eternity he set in our hearts (v. 11). The time for embracing will also be beautiful, and the hour is coming soon.
Until then, O Lord, may our season of solitude bear fruit in the lives of those we love, even those we cannot be with.
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