Psalm 121: 1
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
As we enter into our third week of home isolation, it is easy to become restless, as our new normal has set in. Honestly, being confined is counter-intuitive to our American way of life. Being restricted can make us feel trapped and the seduction to loosen up on the demands placed on us becomes our temptation. Maintaining a sense of balance becomes more and more difficult, which can be discouraging at best. This can trigger us into a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair. Isolation can ultimately lead to feelings of darkness and depression, which allows fear and uncertainty to overwhelm us. It is precisely at this moment when I remember the importance of routine. The key to routine is making adjustments. When life as you know it changes, readjust. When the temptation is to eliminate routine, fight it.
We in the church are working daily to make adjustments. Worship is a perfect example with the introduction of virtual streaming. Wednesday Noon Day Prayer and Sunday Morning Prayer online is an example of change. Daily devotions and our weekly Bible study is a way we are reaching out to you. Though not ideal, it is our way of remaining connected.
Each day, my routine begins with reading the scripture above. It allows me to center not on the ways of the world, but on the ways of God. When isolation has gotten the best of me, I’m reminded from where my help comes. I’m reassured by the psalmist that I’m not alone.
Following my prayer time, I exercise with the pups, eat breakfast and actually read the newspaper. I limit the intake of worldly cable news channels, and I plan my day reaching out to staff and parishioners. When my daily routine becomes stale, I simply make adjustments to mix things up.
Home isolation can be an enemy or a friend. It is an enemy when we hide from God and hide from others. It is a friend when we maintain a routine exercising our body, mind and soul. It begins for me by reaching up to God and reaching out to others.
The Rev. Martin J. Bastian