Dear church,

As I write this, I want you to know I just finished watching the presidential debate. I wished I hadn’t. Sometimes we make mistakes, and this was mine for the day.

The debate was contentious and ugly. And, for some reason, it put me in a bad mood. It put me on edge. I feel like I need to go for a long walk in the woods – a little detox.

Instead, I read Colossians 3. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

That is exactly what I needed.

Colossians 3 reminded me of who I am in Christ. Our lives are bound to this earth for this time, but this is not what we seek. Those of us who have been raised to new life in Christ – those of us who have put our faith in him and have been given the Holy Spirit – are not to be seeking the things of this earth.

We are to seek Christ and his ways. We are to be leaning toward eternity.

If our lives are hidden now in Christ, we have the ultimate security. The sinless one – God himself – has drawn us in and promised never to leave us, to usher us into his glory upon his return. The narratives of this world are too small for Christ, and, therefore, they are too small for us. More is going on than meets the eye. And there’s more to come!

I don’t think Christians are to live with their heads in the clouds, ignoring the things of this earth. God has never allowed his people to ignore injustice and need on earth. We are to help in real ways whenever we can. But neither are we to become so invested in the things of this world that we aren’t ready to leave it all behind at the drop of the hat – to be with Christ, and to trust him to set everything right in the end.

This made me think about my own reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, I am unafraid of getting sick. I always have been. If the coronavirus takes me out, so be it. But I realize many people are deathly afraid (no pun intended) of becoming infected with this virus.

And so, as Christians, we walk gently around those folks. We want to be sensitive to their health concerns. We want to be gentle in spirit and to encourage them and to protect them. We want them to know we love them.

Of course, our minds also are “set” on the “things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” If we’re going to be gentle loving around those who are concerned about the virus, who are afraid of dying or who are afraid of their loved ones dying, we also ought to be gentle and loving enough with them to share the gospel with them – or to remind them of the gospel, if they are Christians.

The gospel is the only answer. The gospel – and the gospel alone – is the only thing that can take away those fears.

No Christian should be afraid of COVID-19. And if a Christian encounters someone who is afraid, the best course of action is to talk about Jesus, to talk about the One who takes away all fear, to talk about the reason why the coronavirus is not a concern for the people of God. We can help others, as Paul might say, become like we are – not slaves to anything, but free (Galatians 4:12).

We can share the good news through a mask. And then maybe we can take them off.

That’s a digression from the presidential debate, and I am thankful for it!

Chris

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