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Wednesday March 24

Contributed by Calvin Burt

Haggai 2:1-9,20-23

“Take courage, work, for I am with you. I will give prosperity, says the Lord.”

We hold many things in tension on our daily journey through life and, as
Christians, we feel this especially as we travel our Lenten journey every
year. It is often trying and challenging, but 2021 seems to be the “Lent-i-est”
of Lents. It is as if those spikes on the corona virus have been stabbing at our
vulnerabilities of Spirit for a whole year.
In this Lenten time, 2021, the tension is great, the distance is far.
I am fortunate to spend some of my ministry time as a hospital
chaplain. Normally, I enjoy my time in the Halifax Health Care System, but
this week saw the arrival of yet another piece of Personal Protective
Equipment. It felt like I was doing my job while “Deep Sea Diving.” There was
such as distance between them and me. I was behind the mask, under the
Face Shield, and wrapped in a disposable gown. I left visits feeling far apart
from the people with whom I was trying so hard to connect.
I suspect that this is a struggle common to all of us. We are all growing tired
of trying to connect deeply with other people. It seems it was the same in the
prophet Haggai’s time as well. Thankfully, for us today, Haggai’s message is
just as applicable to our time, and his voice rings as clearly as ever: Take
courage! Covid-19 is reshaping us and the church. I suspect people are
questioning, just as they did in Haggai’s day: What will be left of us when our
troubles have passed?
Who is left among you who have seen this house in its former Glory?
Our physical work world may have changed during this pandemic, but we are
still being called to work on building a new temple: The Body of Christ. We
are tasked to take care of others, our faith communities, our neighbours, and
the Child of God that dwells behind our own mask.
Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord! The latter shall be greater than the
former, and I will give you prosperity, declares our God!

Dear Lord, help us to trust in your abiding presence, and to know that our
courage and strength comes from you. Amen.

Calvin Burt is a student minister serving at Kings-New Minas Presbyterian Church and is the
Presbyterian Chaplain within the Halifax Health Care System. In his spare time, he is a student
at St. Andrew’s Hall and VST.