To all the Sisters and Brothers in Christ of Trinity Lutheran Church,
Several weeks ago, I wrote to you about how this time of staying home gives us the opportunity to renew faith practices in our own households. This is, of course, a difficult time and a time of fear and anxiety, but I continue to think about how these unprecedented times give us unprecedented opportunities.
Another opportunity that I see is the chance to reassess how we use our time and consider which activities are really important. People are normally very busy. People have full schedules and many activities, especially with children, but right now most of those activities are suspended. You have been given a unique gift—you get to see what your life would be like without all the incessant busyness.
On one of the warm sunny days recently, I pruned the apple tree in our yard at home. The tree is dormant for winter so there are no leaves, which makes it easier to see all the branches. The tree was very overgrown. There were several broken branches, branches growing down, and branches crossing and tangling with each other. The tree was a thick, intertwining, tangle of limbs. It might seem that more branches are a good thing; more branches mean more fruit, right? But actually, the overgrowth hinders the tree from growing good fruit. It must be pruned in order for it to accomplish its main purpose: to produce apples.
Over time, our lives get overgrown with busyness. We take on more responsibilities. We get involved in more activities. We add one more tournament, one more recital, one more club. Soon our lives are an overgrown mess of tangled calendar events, and while it seems like we are being very productive, the overgrowth actually hinders us from living fruitful lives.
Right now, most of the activities, programs, and events that fill our lives have been cancelled. This is something like a winter dormancy—there is far less going on, there is a pause, and we can stand back and look at the structure of our lives. Then, we can see what needs to be cut out. We can see how to prune away the growth that is choking out a healthy life. We can cut away the overgrowth so that air and light can get in and we can produce good fruit.
This is a great time to look at all the things that you used to be busy with and to ask: are all these things necessary, or are they getting in the way of the things that are really important? When this COVD-19 crisis is over, do you want to go back to the way that your life was before, or do you want it to be different?
Take this time and ponder what is important and when things start up again, you can be very intentional about how you invest your time and your life.
Your Servant in Christ,
Pastor Scott C. Egbers