“How is Your Soul?”
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”(Romans 8:5-6)
When we meet people, we typically greet them with, “how are you?” If we ask people, ‘how are you?’ most of them say, “I am fine.” But I wonder if they are really fine.
Back in my country, when I first learned this English greeting, I learned only one thing: when asking ‘how are you?’ the answer is ‘I am fine, and you?’ It became humor, like when one gets hurt, and he is bleeding from his knee. He needs to go to the hospital. At that moment, an American sees him and asks him, ‘how are you?’ He, who was hurt with his knee bleeding answered, ‘I am fine, and you?’ Even though he was suffering, should he say, ‘I am fine’?
We are experiencing a worldwide pandemic that has shut down countries and locked out our hope. Now, some stores, restaurants, and churches have started to reopen, but we already have experienced much loss and grief, such as beloved ones, jobs, and shelters. Nevertheless, we still say, ‘I am fine.’ How could it be okay? Like the man, may we not know how to answer? Otherwise, we are tearing physically, but perhaps, we are fine spiritually. Because Christians live according to the Spirit, they try to find their hope from God, the unseen and supernatural Provider.
Our churches closed for about three months. Some people could not see each other at all during this time. We could not gather together in person. After closing the church, we began to panic about what will happen and how we will handle our life. Some people bought many life supplies at one time from stores. Some stores’ shelves became empty. We felt like we were experiencing a war and we felt isolated. However, we started online services and meetings and tried to connect. Finally, we now have ‘Drive–In Services,’ and we can see each other in person, while wearing masks and keeping social distancing. We have experienced new technologies, and a new frame of church gathering.
I stopped by in the churches while they are closed. I felt that someone had also stopped by in the church, as if angels visited the churches. Someone cleaned up. Someone took care of candles on the altar. Someone cleaned and organized the kitchen and library. Some still send their gifts and offerings to the church. Someone took care of all the offerings. Someone took care of the church signboard. Someone planted flowers on the church garden. Even though the church building is closed, we never close our spiritual church. We are the church in which we are with the Spirit of God.
A philosopher says, “even though the earth destroys tomorrow, I will plant an apple tree.” It means that we may find hope in the middle of hopelessness. If Jesus Christ were here, what would he do? He would pray until the final moment of the earth’s destroying. He indeed used to pray his whole life, even at his last moment on the cross. The prayer is the breath of Spirit to connect with God. If we do not breathe, we are dead. Like that, if we do not pray, our Spirit is gone. I would ask you, “how is your soul?” I understand that we are not okay physically. However, what about your Spirit?
I would encourage you to have a moment of meditation daily to take care of your Spirit. I like gardening. I planted seeds around the parsonage this spring. And I water them every morning and evening. During watering them, I observe them. I feel the whisper of life from the sprout of the plants. Every time while watering them, I find new life in their growing. Gardening is one of my meditations to experience the mystery of life and the providence of God. Through gardening, I feel that my Spirit gets a refresh.
Besides meditation of gardening, my rule of life is “drive–through prayer.” In a busy daily life, sometimes it is difficult to have a prayer time intentionally. Even though I pray in the morning, I often forget that I have to depend on God’s work. I often worry about how to handle the many affairs in daily life. Eventually, I see only a lot of work around me, and worries come to my mind. Therefore, I try to do “drive–through prayer.” It is a way to invite God in my life. In other words, it is a way of God–centered life. It is like picking up food or doing bank business via the drive–through window. Driving means to continue working and not resting. In other words, I try to pray every moment and in every circumstance.
I pray to God while I am walking on the street, while I am working for the church, while I am eating food, while I am visiting someone, while I am getting groceries, and even while I am driving a car indeed. It is my drive–through prayer. In other words, I pray in any circumstance to invite God in my life. This sort of prayer keeps me at peace as I am “walking with God” and keeps me in a positive mindset as God leads me in the right way. So, how about you?
I encourage you to have a meditation time or a connection time with God in your daily life. You may want to invite God into your everyday life to lead you in a better way than what you expected.
Pastor Jenny Lee