*5 Minute Theology*
I wish we were talking face-to-face. Or even on the phone, and truly a phone call is not out of the question.
Let’s check-in with one another. How are YOU?
I wish we were together, but I wanted to talk to you nonetheless, because this place that we’re in right now…The Coronavirus/Covid-19. Well, we’ve never been here before, have we? This sense that we are in the strange calm before a big storm, or standing on the precipice, or in a moment before the actual moment happens, whatever feels comfortable to call it, the truth is, we don’t know where this is headed. We just don’t know how big this monster is, the path in front of us is not illuminated, it’s dark and filled with murky dark shadows that make it impossible to see. And that creates an uneasiness in our shared lives with one another. There have been deaths, there are quarantines, there are untested symptoms. For many of us, this is like staring at a wave coming toward shore, ready to crash, but we have no idea how fast or close it is to crashing. We sense it.
So, for every one of you that finds yourself on edge, restless, with an impending sense of dread. Jittery, twitchy, jumpy, ready to be set off and any moment? Perhaps you find yourself confused or maybe…you’re downright angry! Maybe you don’t know why you’ve been feeling the way you’re feeling. Friends, this is so normal. This upcoming “moment” that we are standing right behind, it hasn’t quite revealed its shape. Maybe you feel angry at the response? Angry at toilet paper or empty shelves? Maybe you’re so tired of the news cycle on tv or online that you feel like screaming? Or at least angrily scoffing! Friends, if you can’t quite put a finger on what is wrong with you, or you feel like you’re angry at something that doesn’t even really make sense or you don’t know how it exists…I want you to know that you are not alone.
You know, when whales travel through the ocean, they can’t see in front of them, nor can they see each other because of the darkness and the distance. They communicate with one another through their whale songs as “sonar” and through this, they can connect with other members of their group or pod. They can’t see one another. They feel far away. They have lost touch or connection. Yet, they call out to one another. The whales do not feel comfortable until they do. So, when people you don’t even know, half-way around the world in Italy or across the country in Seattle, are affected by the Coronavirus and you feel on edge or perhaps lose rest or sleep… Dear friends, it is because not unlike whales, we feel connected with one another. Through all of our differences, labels, language, culture, creeds, and so much more, we all have one universal and important thing in common: we are all human and we are connected with one another. We have this uncertainty, this Coronavirus, which has proven to be dangerous for many, and then also attached to it is this realization that our fast-paced world that has had answers to all of our questions all at our fingertips, is fragile. The world that we have known to be safe, suddenly does not feel that way. We are vulnerable.
So, what now? We realize that we are different then the system in which we currently live. The system that says it’s about “me.” My success. Have it my way. Pick myself up by my bootstraps. This isn’t who we are. Our system has raised us to be individuals who consume. But we are made to desire more than that. We are connected. We are each part of a larger body. Consider the very foundation of Christian community: the cross. Christ gathers different “bodies” and puts them into one body. Not to make us all carbon copies. Not because of a specific law as early Christians may have wondered. But because we all come together under the cross regardless of our culture, ethnicity, race, gender, or class. The Apostle Paul writes: “Because there is one bread we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17). The bread stands for the crucified body of Christ. The palpable emblem that illustrates Jesus’s refusal to remain one body or singularity, but a body that has opened itself up so that others may freely partake. The crucified Messiah creates unity by giving his own self. We are connected to be unified in Him. Unified in the cross. Unified in our undying pursuit to be one body so that it may fill others with the desire to come and partake of the cross.
If you have somehow found yourself with a renewed sense of community. A realization that we are truly all in this together. That can be scary and beautiful all at once. We are invited now to be present with one another. We are going to have slow down. Events are canceled. We have to stay 6 feet away from one another. Limit the amount of people around you. We will slow down, and be present. And in this presence, we can truly be attune to one another. Metaphorically “sit” with one another. What if we took this break from the constant and rapid rhythm we have become accustomed to, and we grew together in faith? What if we grew together in spirit and empathy? What if we grew together and found new ways to spend with one another? What if we look this uncharted monster in the face and we decided to look for the hope? For the love? What if we did? We will find the peace that transcends all understanding and the authentic love for our neighbor because we are all connected. In the midst of it all, we are all together.
I invite you to pause and practice a Breath Prayer (Credit: Sarah Bessey) for these anxious times.
And as always, wash your hands. 😉
To learn how to practice Breath Prayers and for scripture references to pray, check out Sarah Bessey’s Blog at the link below: