This is the second half of the second year of the world dealing with COVID-19. As we cope with the many aspects of life that have changed beyond recognition, we give thanks to God for preserving us individually as well as a church. For many of us, our daily lives now revolve around all sorts of online activities, from virtual meetings to online classes and, of course, delivery services of every kind. We have never been more connected than before. Yet, I often feel that there is a profound loss of incidental, spontaneous human interaction.
The small acts of kindness, or a simple gesture or hello — all that seems lost when we conduct our daily lives online. An example for me is that there was this old, half-blind man who sold packs of tissue on the pedestrian overhead bridge across from Yew Tee MRT station. I often passed him by on my way to Yew Tee and sometimes I would stop to buy tissue even though I didn’t need them, and at other times, we would trade a simple ‘hello’ and a gentle nod. I didn’t want to reach out more but even then, there was a moment of recognition. Now, I cross that bridge much less and don’t see him there anymore, so I wonder, how is he and how is his day?
Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
Or a churlish sort of “Howdy” and then vanish in the throng?
Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way,
Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?
Have You Earned Your Tomorrow by Edgar Guest
We, of course, do not earn our tomorrows but I trust that we can discern what Edgar meant as a whole.
COVID-19 has upended all of our daily routines including the way we used to attend church, physically. These are unprecedented times: COVID-19 and our move to Henderson. We want to keep safe and heed the word of authority but given enough time, will we want to come together physically as a church again? Will we miss the incidental ‘Hellos’ and gentle nods? Will we become a collection of individuals rather than the extended body of Christ?
Church has always been a family, people bound and brought together by love. And an expression of that love is to give opportunities for small, unintentional acts of love and gentleness. I leave you with this: in the times of Zoom, what space in our lives have we left for it now?
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16, ESV
– Yeo Howe Chien