Blog: What a time to be alive

Blog: What a time to be alive

Emily Ballard (left) takes a hike with her roommates on a sunny Saturday, May 2.

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.


“What a time to be alive!”

This is what my roommates and I have been saying to each other each day for the last few months. I’ll admit that when I first brought this phrase into our house, it was typically said under my breath after something didn’t go the way I planned.
It was said out of frustration and confusion about what was happening in our world. Trips were cancelled, restaurants were closed, and I was forced to make new plans. It was a verbal way of coping with finding my new normal.
Apparently I had been sharing this expression quite often, because before I knew it, my roommates were saying it, too. When the phrase became the theme of our house, I started to notice how much we were saying it.  However, the tone of the phrase was different now. Instead of it being a negative, we transformed it into a positive. We cleaned the kitchen: What a time to be alive!
We won a trivia contest: What a time to be alive!
We made dinner: What a time to be alive!

A stray dog ran through the backyard: What a time to be alive! 
All of a sudden, it became our way of expressing thanks to God for those moments. In the midst of this chaotic time, we are still alive! 
Whether we say it because Chick-fil-a accidentally gave us two extra sandwiches or because it started to rain the moment we began a game of corn hole in the backyard, we are constantly shouting, “What a time to be alive!”
In Psalm 100, we are reminded of God’s goodness and our own thanksgiving. There are so many reasons to give thanks. We are God’s people. God created us, and we are his. The Lord is good.
When we remember this, there is nothing that can steal our joy. The last sentence of this scripture says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
We are still in uncharted waters. Each day we continue to adapt to a new normal. No matter your age, gender, race, political affiliation, favorite type of cheese, or whatever, God’s faithfulness remains constant. God’s love endures through all things and through all times. There is nothing that can take away God’s love for us, not even during a pandemic. 
I encourage you to find the good in each day. Shout for joy! Worship with gladness! Make a joyful noise! Give thanks to the Lord!
And remember that God is always with us. What a time to be alive.

This commentary originally appeared May 4 in the Holston Daily Devotion series.

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emily ballard june 2019.jpg
Emily Ballard

Emily Ballard is student ministry assistant director at Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. In June 2019, she was the first delegate elected to represent Holston Conference at General Conference 2020.