Love is in the Air
The two times I have eaten out during the pandemic, it was outdoors on a patio of one of Georgetown’s fine restaurants. They had taken all of the precautions. Patrons wore their masks until they were at the table. They were then encouraged to wear their masks when they were not eating or drinking. They had fans that moved the air. The first time I ate there, the fans were spraying a light mist. The second time I ate there, it was too cool for the mist, but the fans continued to slowly move the air.
Each time I ate there, I worried about what was in the air. This pandemic has taught us to think about the air … not good thoughts … but thoughts nonetheless. Who in our space might be infected with COVID-19? Who is out despite feeling a bit sick? Who is asymptomatic and has no clue they are spreading the virus? Is the moving air enough to keep others safe?
It is all about what is in the air!
Paul, the biblical author of numerous letters who refers to himself as an apostle by faith, shares about what is in the air. In his letter to the Ephesians, he talks about the sin and brokenness in which we find ourselves. In the second chapter of that great work, he talks about sin so contagious that it is in the air we breathe. I think it makes most sense to turn to a modern paraphrase that comes from the late Dr. Eugene Peterson:
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. (Ephesians 2:1-6, The Message)
“You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.“
Yet in the midst of this brokenness … disobedience and sin … God, who is full of this indescribable love, embraced us, and made us alive in Christ. When our lungs were filled with stagnation, yet the powerful love of God was also in the air … clearing away the pollutants of sin … and breathing new life into us.
It is this God who picks us up from our brokenness and “sets us down in the highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” These images are like a breath of fresh air.
So as we continue to think about what is in the air … as we practice love by wearing our masks and protecting our neighbors … as we refrain from hugging as the best way to wrap our friends in the arms of loving care … maybe we can see that the air is really filled with love, after all.
So breathe deeply and welcome this God-breathed gift of healing and wholeness into our lungs. Love is, in fact, in the air.
God, your love is amazing! May we be those who breath in your incredible grace and breathe out divine love into the world around us. Amen.