WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP …
FROM TIME TO TIME circumstances occasionally bring to mind a line from a song—a song we may not have thought about for years. As I finally had a moment to catch my breath a few days ago, and consider all that we as a nation, state, city, church and our families have experienced in just the past couple of weeks, that very thing happened to me. The song (this is as much a confession as a fact) is by that seemingly ageless “gospel group,” The Grateful Dead. The line from the song: “What a long strange trip it’s been.”
NOW, I WILL BE the first to admit that the line in itself is anything but profound; but the fact still remains. For many of us, we are experiencing circumstances and emotions that are entirely foreign to us. They are, for lack of a better word . . . STRANGE.
IT WAS STRANGE watching Pastor David and our Praise Team lead worship in front of a totally empty Worship Center for the first time. It is still strange every time I witness it.
IT WAS STRANGE having a meeting with 14 of our staff members, with only one other staff member actually in the room with me.
IT IS STRANGE that the only honest answer to the questions of Staff Members about plans for the Spring, much less plans for the Summer, is simply, “We simply do not know right now.”
IT IS STILL STRANGE to walk the darkened halls of the GABC campus in the middle of the day, all alone.
IT IS STRANGE to consider the fact that we will be celebrating Easter Online this year instead of welcoming thousands of people to our campuses for worship, and that the Easter Sunrise Celebration that I and so many others have enjoyed over the years will have only the Sunrise itself as a witness.
And, on a more personal note …
IT IS STRANGE to watch and listen as Jaime, my wife, holds conferences with the faculty and parents of her school, and as she continues teaching students every day—all from the computer in our bedroom.
IT IS HEARTRENDINGLY STRANGE to hear our Anesthesiologist daughter, describe the endless hours of fatigue and stress as she works directly with COVID patients in hospitals in Connecticut—as she describes, as have others, assisting a patient with a FaceTime phone conversation with his family shortly before being sedated to have his ventilator installed, knowing it may the last time those people ever have the opportunity to speak.
AND YET IT IS GRATIFYINGLY STRANGE to hear her describe the tears of joy as she arrived home after a 24 hour shift, exhausted, to find a box full of hand-made protective face shields and hoods—each individually and lovingly crafted and donated by members of her Connecticut church family. And, to read her text expressing appreciation to her brother for a case of surgical masks that just arrived from an “anonymous” donor in Texas.
BUT THEN, just about the time I am tempted to begin to be overwhelmed by all of the STRANGENESS that seems to surround us, the words to another song come clearly to mind—a “Song” of Isaiah.
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:28-31 New Living Translation
AND SUDDENLY, things don’t seem nearly so strange after all!
“SEE YOU” ONLINE this weekend for Good Friday Worship and Easter Sunday Morning!
“HE IS RISEN” … !