Tuesday is the anniversary of the first day we tracked Covid cases in Massachusetts. Next Saturday will mark the first day of our “stay at home” and “shut down” orders. Let us take a moment to honor how far we have come and how much we have learned. Let us us pray for those who have survived and those we have lost.
What will we never take for granted again?
The lessons got really loud for us. Those big, universal questions were put unavoidably right in front of us. The essential questions that we, in our safe, comfortable, and secure lives, could very easily ignore.
Who am I? Why am I here? What do I have to offer? How can I serve?
When we are confronted with a deep test of faith and deep questions about who we are, it helps to come back to the Essentials. These are the essentials that we have been sorting through since our very existence.
In good and bad ways, we were confronted with the reminder of our own mortality. In many ways, we still are. We can hide. We are very skilled at denial and avoidance. We can fight…apparently, it’s all one big fight. The Battle Against Covid. The battle. The fight. Covid Command. No wonder we can’t find peace.
We seem to collectively like, or are unable to resist, fights and division. A good exercise is to watch the language you use in a day. Notice how many battle, war, fighting, divisive metaphors we use on a regular basis without even noticing it…
In some ways, our big global news media helps us to shut down, close off, and not listen. It makes things feel huge and hopeless. It feeds fear and anxiety that this will never end and there is nothing we can do. It encourages us to fight and argue and…battle…every thing! Media and social media, if not used wisely, can keep us dwelling on the problem, without seeking answers.
We can deny, ignore, or wage battles against what’s not really an “enemy”. We can cast blame (as I said, there is a whole reflection on throwing Covid Stones) and hide in hopelessness and fear.
Or we can listen and come back to the essentials. We can think and find wisdom. These Essential questions are important and we’re not very good at really reflecting on them.
Who am I? Why am I here? What do I have to offer? How can I serve? These are the questions that being people of faith we are asking ourselves. This is why we gather together as people of faith. To work together to try to answer these questions and work together to do the work.
What are our answers? We might not have BIG answers, but we should be gaining small answers. God is speaking…but when was the last time we really, really listened?
Gathering in small community groups, in places of faith and thinking and reflecting and…loving help us to come back to the Essentials.
We can come back to the Essentials for ourselves and as a community. In a community we can do something bigger than ourselves. It might be small, but in a small world, that is enough.
This is the moment.
It is hard to find wisdom and clarity in a pandemic. It is easy to get caught up in our own needs and desires (most especially to feel safe). It is easy to forget the needs and desires (also mostly to feel safe) of other people. It’s easy to get insular. That’s likely why church and faith has become so important. We’ve been reminded of the Essentials. The gift that coming together and asking these questions can offer.
We have to seek clarity and listen for wisdom. Coming back to the Essentials helps. It’s kind of what’s being asked of us in Covid. If we stop battling and running away, there are things to be learned. Wisdom. What did we learn? What are we learning? How do we move forward?
How strong is my faith? What will I never take for granted again? That is a deep spiritual lesson: what do I have that I will never take for granted again?
Out of that sense of gratitude, what do I have to offer? How can I help others. This is one of our greatest needs and works as human beings. We are social beings and we each have a place in society. What do we have to offer? We feel worn and unfulfilled when we don’t feel we have anything to offer back. It’s likely a big source of our suffering and our anxiety. Our hopelessness (that and listening too much to the news).
Sometimes, we need to learn in the darkness. Losing what we thought we’d never lose or living without what we thought we couldn’t live without. Think about a person who lost their sense of sight or the use of their legs, especially with little hope of getting it back. When it comes back, one will never take seeing or walking for granted again. We have so many gifts. Sometimes, we have to learn from the suffering.
Who am I? How can I serve? What will I never take for granted again?
We avoid suffering. We talk about the cross, but do we really contemplate the suffering of the cross? The blood. The thirst. The pain. The helpless watching. Jesus didn’t get a get out of pain free card because he was the son of God. Those who loved him didn’t get a get out of pain free card. Perhaps we need to remember that as we follow the journey to the cross, we also don’t a get out of pain free card. But what we do with the lessons of pain is the important thing.
In order to resurrect ourselves, we must let go of what’s old. We have to let things go and let things die. Perhaps “normal” needs to be let go and let die. Perhaps fighting against…everything….need to be let go and die.
Our work is God’s Work. We create in God’s name. However we define God, we are all doing God’s Work.
This is a year ahead of Resurrection. What do we let go of. Let die for newness. What is it? What is it that we dream? What do we want to resurrect? Because this is the time for thinking…this is the Moment.
Can we live our lives never taking our small and perfect lives for granted again.