When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall he exploded in anger, vilifying the Jews. In the company of his Samaritan cronies and military he let loose: “What are these miserable Jews doing? Do they think they can get everything back to normal overnight? Make building stones out of make-believe?”                                                                                                                                                              Nehemiah 4:1-2 (The Message)

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work                                                                                        Nehemiah 4:6 (The Message)

As we dig out from the rubble that is COVID-19, it is time to start some reflecting on its lessons. I remember those pictures that we have seen so often of people in Germany and England picking up the rubble of bricks and debris that the terrible aerial bombings wrought during World War II. Interesting that many of those pictures and films depict women lifting the shattered bricks onto carts, trying to determine which were able to be reused and which were simply relegated to landfill.

The point was, that after catastrophe there must come rebuilding. In this upcoming post-COVID environment, we must determine what positive lessons we learned from the disaster. What can we use to rebuild, and what should be discarded as “lessons learned, not to be repeated”?

There are many lessons, and I will go into just a few. We learned, for example, that telehealth is here to stay, and it can be a valuable tool for our physical and behavioral health. We learned that in a crisis, many people stood up heroically to the challenges, offering innovative ideas to overcome the negative effects of lack of social interactions. We learned that many companies have decided that “coming into the office” was not as necessary as they may have thought, and that working from home will be much more common, and even cost-effective as we move forward. We learned that healthcare workers and the much-maligned “big Pharma” came through in amazing ways to fight the virus at ground level.

Churches learned that large assemblies of people for worship, while often inspiring, are not necessary for the faith to thrive and spread. Indeed, many churches last Easter were awestruck that their online services reached exponentially more people than their old live worship ever could. It took a pandemic to find out.

Rebuilding is hard, because we must first grieve the loss before we rebuild. Yet, while we grieve, we also begin the process of sorting through those bricks.

Prayer: Lord, you have built us to move forward in pain and to learn from it. Help us to learn the right lessons the right way, Amen.

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