Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. Boxes still in my office, boxes still at home—we decided we needed to get a change of scenery so Janice and I went for a drive. I decided to take Janice to a world famous and historically established cultural icon in South Florida. I am speaking, of course, of the Swap Shop. Have you been to the Swap Shop? Half County Fair, half Flea Market, half car museum (that’s why I go) and half Drive-in movie theater, the Swap Shop is a microcosm of South Florida’s cultural realities. For those of you working on my math, I will simply tell you that I majored in letters, not numbers. And I don’t do that well with letters!
I’ve been to the Swap Shop before, back when it was half circus too. That circus was free—my price—and we went when our boys were younger. They marveled at the elephants and the Ferraris, and our younger son spent all his money on the only driving simulator that I’ve seen with a clutch pedal. He LOVED that thing. And was good at it.
This time that arcade game sat torn apart in a graveyard of video games off to one corner. This time the go-fast cars were still there (the circus was long gone), but many of the shops inside were shuttered and outside not a third of the vendors have returned. I still managed to buy an HDMI cable for $3 (I am, after all, the last of the big spenders!). And we ignored the carnival rides this time just as we have in the past.
As we went from one place to another in Broward, we found that masks were required in some places, and in others not. It was different than Palm Beach County. Different areas deal with COVID in different ways, I suppose.
And, different aspects of our own lives emerge from the pandemic in different ways too. We may be freer to go to the grocery store, not so much to the movie theater. We might go to school before we went back to church.
Eating out may have to do with how many employees they have, I don’t know. What I do know is that our spiritual lives cannot be neglected like some other areas of our lives have been. Our Bibles cannot look like the abandoned video arcade at the Swap Shop that my son loved so much. For many people, the most sold book in history lies carefully placed on a shelf, covered with the dust that belies its importance.
How we live out our faith is something that demanded a decision from us every day before the pandemic and continued during it. As we emerge from whatever the craziness has been for each one of us for the last 16 months or so, how we are going to nurture our souls is something that we all have to figure out.
Personally, I have had the privilege of never stopping being in the Sanctuary. For many, staying out of the building remains an issue. But our faith is not based on the building. It’s based on who Jesus is in our lives. And that part of us, that deepest part of us, that is our spiritual beings, has to be nourished, has to be dusted off. And I believe that gathering with brothers and sisters matters in that.
God wants to speak into every aspect of our lives. Let’s make sure we are making ourselves available to that Voice. The Word of God is alive, active, and personal. Let’s listen for it.
Back in church,
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4