Things I've Learned So Far...
May 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

We're two months into the impact of COVID-19, and I find myself reflecting on some of the lessons and re-awakenings I've experienced so far. Every aspect of life has been changed by this pandemic, from the local and global economy to the ways that we interact with one another. The very fabric of our society has been rearranged (some might say unraveled) , and we've been called to sacrifice our privileges for the sake of the health and wellbeing of our neighbors. I want to share some of what I've been noticing, in what I hope will be the beginning of a conversation in which you will share some of what you've been experiencing as well.

 In times of crisis most people tend to rise up to their very best versions. Once again, we have been alerted to the reality that, whether we like it or not, we share the planet with everyone and everything on it, so how we come out of this will depend largely on how big our hearts are and how well we understand the “Good Samaritan” story.

• The veil has pulled back from some of our misconceptions and we’re recognizing many everyday jobs are actually heroic. Along with the emergency and medical workers we easily acknowledge as worthy and valuable, we have begun to celebrate folks who work at or near minimum wage who keep food on grocery store shelves, even getting it out to the curbside for our no-contact pick up; the people all the way through our food chain that raise/grow, harvest, process, and deliver to our stores the food that we need and enjoy, and the people who care for our children so we can be at work.

• It’s going to be much harder to under-value teachers, school administrators, support staff, and all the folks that it took to not only educate our children but be sure they had enough to eat and we're listened to by caring adults. I've been reminded of how much training and preparation goes into a good educational process (and how much even more to make it a great one!), from preschool through Graduate School…and how unprepared most of us are to directly provide a rich education for upcoming generations.

• I've also seen that there is no situation that doesn't look to some like an opportunity for personal enrichment by taking advantage of their neighbors’ fears, despair and desperatio. Sadly, I see that this includes some who claim to be Christian leaders, tarnishing that identity for all who claim it.

• While the building is closed, ministry continues to transform individuals and beyond beyond its walls. I've been powerfully reminded that an attractive and useful building can be a great tool for ministry, the “church” is not a building and what we do away from it is at least as significant as what we do in it.

• I have experienced anew the joy and value of hearing another person's voice, even when I can't see their face or touch them, and of receiving a card or letter, as well as the importance of having a national Postal Service that ensures all of us can receive send and receive those cards and letters, whether we're in urban or rural areas.

• I have a refreshed and deepened grasp on how much my mental health depends on a balance of time alone and time with others. I’ll remember how reassuring it is to talk to my children (sadly, my parents are both deceased), siblings and friends near and far, long after the restrictions of this pandemic fade away.

• “We are in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” Those who were already the most vulnerable among us – the homeless; those upon whom our system of agriculture depend but whom our leaders call ‘rapists, murders and gang members; the growing ‘caste’ of the impoverished; workers who are seen as replaceable parts; people of color; the mentally ill for whom little or no treatment is available – are bearing the brunt of this crisis, as they do with every crisis and socio-economic fluctuation.

 These three abide: faith, hope and love, and love is the greatest of these!

Thank you for your faith in the God Who creates and sustains, comforts in times of challenge and challenges in times of comfort, and has promised to be with us always. Thank you for the hope you choose over-and-against the temptation to despair, a hope that stands as a beacon in a too-dark world. Thank you for placing love, which naturally evokes a caring and sharing attitude along with the actions that allows God’s love for you to become God’s love for all you encounter, at the center of your choices and resources. Like Abram, we are blessed to be a blessing!

Pastor Terry