Whenever I read Deuteronomy I think more about the Children of Israel than Moses, who’s doing all the talking. They are in a liminal state, betwixt and between. They’re at the side of the Jordan River, ready to go into the Promised Land.
But first, Moses has a lot to say to them. In fact, the entire book of Deuteronomy is a series of speeches, all intending to prepare the people for their new reality.
But there is a problem. Moses doesn’t know what their new reality will be like. He seems to have asked God, and God’s primary goal was to make sure that the people stayed Jewish. That is, they were supposed to do everything possible to stay away from other gods, the gods’ places of worship, and especially the people who worshiped those other gods.
I’m not sure that’s what they wanted to hear. I know how they felt. We’re sitting at the edge of our own Jordan River, waiting impatiently to cross over into a Covid-free land.
Like the Children of Israel we listen to endless speeches, but ours are from a parade of experts who don’t always agree with one another.
We’re not quite sure how to prepare: Do we need to buy more masks? Are the powers-that-be going to offer booster shots? Will the so-called “vaccine-reluctant” come to their senses? And most of all, can we gather together?
The problem with liminal spaces is that they are frustrating. And ours has gone on for so long. Just when we thought things were getting better, we found ourselves stuck back in the same spot, the same not-knowing, just waiting for it to end. And there is nothing that you or I can do to make the end come faster.
A friend told me the other day that we are waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. But until then, he said, we’re stuck in a dark tunnel.
I won’t accept that. I refuse to sit in the dark and wait for things to get better. So I’ve decided to string up some lights in my tunnel. Lots of beautiful colored lights. Lights that sparkle and glitter and make everything around them shine with received light.
My metaphorical lights are designed to remind me that my life doesn’t have to be put on hold while I wait for a post-Covid world. There is so much we can do, and so much we need to do.
We need to stay in close touch with our families and friends, our colleagues and our grown kids. Call, visit when and where we can, email, text, send cards, anything to stay connected.
We need to care about our spiritual lives, as well as our physical and mental lives. Meditate, read, breathe deeply, attend religious services, dance, sing, make art, make music. When we are creative we are channeling God’s own creativity.
And never forget that even in the midst of a pandemic, there is much we can do to make the world a better place.