March 12: The Needs of Many

My sincere apologies for the missing reflection yesterday.  As they say, some days you bite the bear, but other days, the bear bits you.  Much bear-biting yesterday!  Our traditional Lenten rhythms, and indeed our very daily way of life, is being upended by a virus which seemingly has punctured our global community with such force that our lives as we know them must endure significant change, at least for a season.  For some all these changes look and sound alarmist, an unnecessary emotive reaction driven by media or conspiracies or political ideology run extreme.  For others these increasingly dramatic steps are prudent and perhaps overdue measures to flatten the infection curve, providing life-saving time to produce an effective vaccine while preserving specialized respiratory medical wards for the most vulnerable amongst us.  As I learned in the Middle East, one person’s terrorist is another’s statesman.  Now, one person’s alarmist is another’s pragmatist!

For me, I subscribe to the axiom espoused by an unnamed science fiction franchise beloved in my family.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.  Our congregation has long painted on such a broader canvas than simply caring for our own members.  For me, our parish is our community, member or otherwise, boundaried not even by the steep Rocky Mountain walls of our valley but by the limits of our collective care and concern.  We are officially past containment of this virus as of yesterday.  We are now into community mitigation and protection for the most vulnerable among us, which means what is best for our community guides my perception and behavior.  The Apostle Paul gave us a beautifully moving way to picture this when he directs his followers to party when one of us rejoices, and weep when one of us is weeping.  No matter how I feel about this, this thing is here and threatening so many whom I so deeply cherish.  I am feeling called to accept this as reality and then act to change that reality as quickly as possible by whatever means within my power.  The first and most important means is to pray.  To pray with intention and agency and with passion.  To raise my voice in prayer to our Heavenly Father for grace, protection, courage, patience and comfort.  To find humor, which I consider a spiritual gift, even if it’s a bit dark or off-balance, in whatever I can.  To pray for God’s protection for all those whom I love and those whom I do not.  To re-define what ministry means right now as the church, and our Christian forebears, have been here so many times before.  To know innately that we have this moment in our spiritual DNA, and confidence that as they navigated it so will we.  I apologize for missing a day.  I mean not to do it again.

  1. My mother taught me to pray for the desires of my heart.  What is the desire of your heart today?
  2. Being a Christian means being dedicated to spiritual reality at all times.  How are we being called to reality in this present moment?
  3. To whom are we being called in this moment?

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