So how, then, should we live?
It's a question we wrestle with every day, and even more now as we seek to figure out how to live and love in a world that's nothing like we remember it. I have taken some time over the past few weeks to talk about our sacred human story as it is unfolding - the new questions we are facing, the new trials we are enduring, the new opportunities that lie before us. And the truth is that I could keep writing about these things probably indefinitely; we can always do better at loving one another.
But the longer we talk about what it means to be humans in isolation, the longer we pontificate on the challenges we're facing, the longer we look at the world that we live in and how in the world we're supposed to navigate it, the easier it becomes to drift away from the heart of the story of who we really are: a people, yes, but a people of God.
And the longer we talk just about who we are as a people, even a holy people, the easier it becomes to leave God a little more out of it and a little more out of it and a little more out of it until we're only talking about us and no longer talking about Him.
Most of us wouldn't even notice this drift. As long as we're talking about good things, as long as we're talking about being good people, as long as our emphasis is on being good to one another, aren't we still talking about the same thing? Aren't we still talking about God and faith and Christianity and all that?
And that's the challenge. Because the answer is actually...no. No, we're not. When we reach the point that we're only talking about us, then no matter what the actual content is, we're no longer really talking about God and faith and Christianity.
This is one of the greatest lies of our generation. We worship in churches that have become glorified social clubs, and our sermons and devotions and gatherings together have placed this huge emphasis on our human story and kind of shirked God to the edges. We're focused on the words, trying to get the language right, but no longer on the Word, trying to love well. Our entire concept of everything has changed, and we didn't even notice it because we were sitting in churches when it happened.
There's a lot to talk about right now about how we're living. A lot. There's a lot to talk about about what love looks like right now. A lot.
But if we're not talking in these strange times about the Lord of living and loving, a Lord who hasn't changed, then we're just trying to be a good people and not a holy one. And I, for one, want us to be a holy people.
I realized this on Friday, Good Friday, when the little thought that I wrote in this space exploded in my heart in a way that hasn't happened for awhile. And it was because of the way that that little thought drew God back into the conversation, brought Him back into an introspection that was taking on a life of its own. It was in that moment, as this passion welled up in me, that I realized how desperately we need not just a Christian philosophy for loving, but our Christian theology of Love Himself. I don't want to lose sight of the latter for the sake of the former.
It's been a blessing to me to have the space for philosophy for awhile, and I hope that it has been a blessing to you. But as we move forward from here, I'm going to pull back on "the times as we know them." Because I want to get back to "the Lord as we know Him." And as He knows us.
It will change the way we live and love, even in these times. It will put us back in touch with our sacred human story by settling us back into His developing story, a story He is still writing with every breath in the community of His people.
Even when we're six feet apart.