What a Pandemic Teaches

Jesus said: "And greater things than these you, too, will do."                                                                                                --John 14:12

So, by my estimation, we're a little over half-way through this journey in a time of pandemic. Wouldn't it be interesting to share what each of us has learned? Hard wrought lessons of what's needed in an emergency; poignant lessons on the brevity of life; revealing lessons on the fragile nature of our world and our need for connectivity and one another.

What have you learned in this time of pandemic? 

This little virus has served great purposes, hasn't it? Revealing the structure of societies--from their healthcare preparedness to airline transportation safety. Indeed, it appears no sector anywhere in the world's history has been rendered more transparent and obvious than in this time of living through, and dying in, a pandemic.

What have I learned?

It appears to me the world, itself--the whole world--is participating in a Sabbath rest: whether it's in the streets and subways of New York; the canals of Venice; or the highways of Los Angeles. Everyone, living inside, has made room, outside, for the earth to rest. Stretches of blue appear above even the world's most industrial cities. Factories--whose workers worked 24/7--for the first time in their history are closed; the mind numbing work standing above conveyor belts and in slaughter houses has stopped.

The 18 million or so people who flew every day to every place around the earth (and which helped this virus spread so quickly) has dwindled to mere dozens; the corporate greed that packed each plane above capacity has raised new questions about corporate practices and human safety.

Who knew a virus could reveal so much?

And beg so many questions, such as: Is there a better way to live? To travel? To be prepared... for emergencies or any other sort of contingency? What does good government look like? What do the poor and unemployed go through on a daily basis? What makes work work? And, does it really take a pandemic to make us cognizant of the pain, dis-ease, displacement and suffering of others?

Even those at our own borders?

On good days, I think of all of the above; bad days, I get myopic, thinking "Why?" Funny, in my experience, how God rarely answers questions that begin with "Why", answering, instead, questions that begin with "How".

How to cope. How to be resilient. How to keep hope and faith alive in a time where hopelessness and doubt abounds. How to live and love despite the problems. How to focus on what matters and keep learning.

I hope this is a time for you and I, and the whole world, to learn, in the words of Texas poet Naomi Shihab Nye, 'Something too important to forget/Trees/The monastery bells at twilight"--that which matters most.

On this 5th Sunday of Easter, 2020, I'm reminded of the words Jesus said in this day's Lectionary: "Greater things than these you, too, will do" like: rethink all of the above; invent vaccines for viruses we didn't even know till now exist; become church videographers; re-think corporate practices; cherish one another; honor God's intentions for ourselves  and for the earth.

What a rare and wonderful opportunity we have to re-consider and to re-imagine our lives within this world.

Yours in Christ Service, Pastor Linda                                                          


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