Emerging From the Wilderness
I suppose as far as biblical wilderness journeys go, ours was a middling journey. It was not a forty-day trek such as Jesus’ time of fasting after his baptism and it certainly (thank goodness) did not last the forty years of Moses and the Israelites. Yet, it has been quite a trip. We witnessed and experienced a great deal of strife, upheaval, and grief in the time span of our collective COVID circumstance. Not one of us has come out unscathed but, if you are reading this article, you have survived. We are coming through to the other side. Let us rejoice in this and not get stuck in the negativity that hung over us like a cloud these past 16 months.
There is a phenomenon we have all been touched by. It is referred to as the Baader-Meinhof Complex. It is the difference between something happening a lot and something you are starting to detect a lot. It is when your awareness of something increases, which leads you to believe it is happening more, even if that is not the case.
For instance, this happened when I first saw a bunch of kids in our neighborhood walking around our little park looking intently at their phones talking to each other, pointing excitedly at nothing. Before you say anything like, “Kids always have their phones in front of their faces,” this was different, more active. So, I asked around and that is when I first learned about Pokemon Go, a mobile phone game where the players physically travel around with their game map (located on their phones) searching for Pokemon to catch. Next thing I knew, I began to notice people everywhere playing this game. Not just kids but adults also, heads down with their phones in their hands in search of the different Pokemon species generated by the game. As I thought about it, I had been seeing this game being played for months, I just didn’t know it…Baader-Meinhof.
I think that these past 16 months have created blinders for us, crafted personally by whatever has been the most difficult aspects of our lives these long months. These blinders have impeded our ability to see the good in our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our church and in each other. This is, of course, my opinion, but it is informed by things I have heard from people in conversation, on social media and in rumors I’ve heard. Yours truly would like to take off her blinders to fully see the work of the Holy Spirit in and around this world. I want a Baader-Meinhof Complex where I see the Spirit blowing everywhere!
Standing in the church on Sunday morning welcoming our nine outstanding young new members got me most of the way there. They reminded me that God’s Holy Spirit is blowing through this world and really fortified a Romans 8:38-39 reality. Blow wind, blow us into summer, blow us into our future. Remove our blinders and allow us to see You at work in our hearts, our church and throughout our world. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Church is not dying, it is re-forming, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what God has in store next. Amen?!