My Dear Shepherds,
Technology is a gift in this season of distance, to be sure, but there’s not much warmth in its touch is there? I’ve watched pastors preaching to an empty sanctuary in the hopes that their congregation will populate the unseen space from their living rooms. It’s a helpless feeling.
One pastor reminded me of a story I’d forgotten.
A plague overwhelmed the people of God. Nothing like it as far back as memory could carry. Locusts had invaded their land like a mighty army, with the teeth and appetites of lions, leaving only a wasteland in their wake. The prophet Joel gave them words for their grief, a lament scripted for them by the Lord God.
Mourn like a bride left alone at the altar,
a bride dressed in a forlorn sack instead of her wedding gown.
All our offerings—all our grain and wine—are cut off, swallowed by the locusts.
No one has anything to bring into the Lord’s house.
No one even has reason to come. [My paraphrase]
Then Joel said ...