It has almost been two months since the Coronoavirus was declared a pandemic. Like many of you, I have spent those months at home, struggling to adjust to a change in life as we have always known it. While I could discuss at length the struggles we’ve endured, I don’t think anyone needs reminders. You’re living through it, so what light do I have to shed beyond your personal experience? What I would like to do is to share what I believe is the cure the world so desperately needs. I would like to share a solution, rather than harping on all the problems we face.
One blessing that has come out of this pandemic has been the ability to spend time with family. And yes, this is not always easy between home schooling; cramped quarters, working remotely, and the general stir craziness that everyone has faced at some time or other. However, there are beautiful moments, too. Right now, I’m sitting outside watching my four-year-old and two year old play in the dirt. This seems so elemental, but it is something that never happened before this pandemic hit. We have discovered time to waste with each other again, and it can be a wonderful thing.
One way in which we have passed the time is to listen to music, and one song in particular keeps sticking with me. The song is by Hillsong and it is titled, “So Will I (One Hundred Billion X).” It’s a beautiful tribute to our Creator, and it does a masterful job of telling the God’s love story God with all of us, starting with Creation and ending with Christ. I highly recommend listening to it. By the time the song reaches its final line, you cannot help but have it stick with you”You’re the one who never leaves the one behind.”
So simple, and yet so beautiful. What better way to describe our Creator? How often do we see this through the love story of God with humanity? He does not abandon Abraham, but instead, turns his descendants into a Great Nation. Despite the consistent infidelity in the hearts of the Israelites, God never leaves them behind. Instead, He sends prophets to express His love for His people:
“With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” (Isaiah 62:5)
“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, Who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, Who will sing joyfully because of you,” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Jesus speaks to this often as well, whether it is in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32) or in leaving the ninety-nine sheep to find the lost one (Mt 18:12). He taught this to his apostles and disciples, who wrote, “God is love,” (1 Jn. 4:8) and “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13)
With everything going on, we cannot help but see all the people left behind. These “ones” are the exact ones that our Lord, burning with passionate love and mercy, would drop everything for in order to go and save. They are the ones he would never leave behind. As Christians, how have we done in carrying on God’s mission of being the “ones” who never leave all these people behind?
This is not some new idea, and it certainly is not original. It is right there in 1 John 4:10-12, “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us.”
We “must” love one another. That is it, simple and yet so difficult. The only measure that matters for us in what we do in this world is how well we loved one another. Can we honestly look at our world and our lives and say that is the measure that matters most to us?
Well, we have had forty days or so to think things over, and it is time we think about how we can love one another better. How can we make this central to our lives rather than the afterthought that we will get to once we are finished doing all the things we need to do first? How can we allow this Gospel message, this true message to truly transform the world around us? What would our society look like if its measure were a measure of love? As we come out of this pandemic and begin to recover, why can’t that be the barometer we use to make every decision going forward?
The rationale put behind all of this is so beautifully summarized in those last lines of “So Will I.” It is the reminder that keeps sticking with me. The aching desire in my heart that I do not fully know how to achieve, but I know the means is through openness to God’s love and willingness to be the one He uses to spread it.
“I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind”
So beautifully written, Will.