It seems nearly impossible to believe, but this month marks the one year anniversary of our world changing forever.

I remember that weekend so clearly. My family was traveling down to Alabama to see my boys’ godfather be ordained as a Presbyterian Minister. On the way south, Brad and I kept them entertained with children’s museums and Bass Pro shop. We were cautious, but things were still open to welcome us. I preached the ordination service on Sunday. Our best friend got ordained. But when we traveled home on Monday – everything had changed. It was as though the world flipped a switch. Nothing was open and our three year old sons had to run around rest stops to get energy out on our long journey home.

All of us have memories of those early days. The uncertainty. The fear. The frustration. And as the weeks turned into months, in many ways, those emotions have only compounded. We have seen the very best of humanity over the last twelve months and certainly some of the very worst.

Nevertheless, as the fog clears, and we slowly begin to make our way toward the new day that is surely coming in the not so distant future, we must not get ahead of ourselves. To be certain, we are making progress. However, we are still not quite out of the woods and some reasonable precautions are necessary to keep our community safe.

And as we keep our patience with the ongoing mitigation efforts, there is another essential task that all of us need to undertake. It is quite simple, but not necessarily easily:

Everyone should seek to consistently carry caring eyes out into the world.

There is so much still going wrong all around us – related to the pandemic and not – and right now, the thing that everyone can do is to display God’s love through their eyes to all who they meet. Yes, there is plenty of other work that needs done as well. But this is an excellent place to begin for every single person – from one to ninety-two.

And as we approach Holy Week at the end of this month, seven days that hold oceans of grief for so many of us, what my years in ministry have taught me is that the most important gift one can receive while in the throes is the eyes of compassion from someone who knows.

So in these final weeks of Lent, build up your skillset in showing kindness, caring, compassion through your eyes. Teach them to speak the words that our ears are sometimes just not ready to hear. And bring them as a special offering when we enter triumphantly into Jerusalem on March 28th – for Holy Week has much in store for all of the followers of Christ. Especially those who will stay close to our Master’s side.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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