Out for an evening walk, the silence is profound. Cool, clear weather perfect. A soft orange glow filters over rooftops, through still bare tree branches as day’s end nears.

The quiet, and beauty are gifts to my soul in these troubling days.

I look down and see brown leaves fallen from live oak trees getting their spring wardrobe. The urge to crunch them seems childlike. but I give in . . . and smile!

Up and down the street, front doors are closed. No children at play. No one in their yards. No barking dogs. No traffic. No birds chirping. No annoying noises from crickets or katydids. All is silent.

I. Am. Alone.

How many millions in our world are feeling the same?

But are we alone? Aren’t we somehow more connected to the rest of humanity as never before seen in this lifetime? Isn’t it times of greatest need that make us yearn to know God is real, and near?

Isn’t it in the stillness that God speaks most freely? God draws near, comforts, brings peace and hope? Perhaps in silence, we hear God ask us to come after Him . . .

Deny ourselves, lay down our lives for others. Put their needs first. Care for our families. Take time to check on neighbors and friends. Take care of those in our church family who need us.

Christ says for us to take up our cross each day. May we continue to remember the crosses that our medical professionals, first responders, essential workers and now teachers are taking up are enormous. May we not fail to intercede for them.

Christ asks us to follow Him. Does that look different in these days . . . ?

Shouldn’t we live always with our eyes on Jesus. Emulating His response to others. Loving fully. Forgiving always. Building trust in relationships to the point we can speak freely of the love of Christ.

Living not in fear, but in confident hope that God is not absent. God is not unaware of the cries of the desperate. Not unable to stop this dread disease. And in the meantime, asking us to take care of one another.

In the Garden of Eden, among the stories of God’s people, after the Resurrection of Jesus – our God’s charge to humanity has always been to love Him with abandon. Love others. Take care of all people. Take care of the earth and all the creatures that dwell therein.

In the universe, we’re given resources that sustain life. On earth, ecosystems abound to provide for all our needs. We though, must take care of all that has been entrusted to us.

In love, humanity was created. In grace, redemption and restoration made possible. In Scripture, we are called to be reconcilers, carriers of the One who reconciles us.

For in that One, we have hope. And as reflectors of the Lord, we have potential to hold out hope over those who have no hope. We have ability to be present with others who are struggling, especially with our many technology driven formats.

This virus rages on but we are NOT alone . . . we are in this together as human beings. And the Lord God of the ages is near to us.

This morning my house and my heart are quiet. Outside my window the sun is shining brightly. No matter what may come, I am at peace. And I pray you are as well.