Like it or not…
Believe it or not…
Agree with it or not…
COVID-19 aka Coronavirus has reminded us that when it comes to life, society, and the global community, we are all in this together. When it comes to our health, safety, and livelihood, humanity is intricately and inexplicably tied together. In fact, we are tied so closely that there are no points of escape, denial, or refuge.
In the past, the world could fall apart and we could seek sanctuary in a church. All hell could break loose and we could turn our brains off at the movie theater. “Yogurt” could hit the fan and we could still distract ourselves with a sporting event.
Before now, our neighbor could suffer, and we could avoid it. Groups of people would die and, for the most part, our life would go on uninterrupted. Our neighbors’ problems were just that… their problems… and not ours.
That is no longer the case.
Our reality has been exposed.
Now, we know and cannot avoid this truth: what you do affects me and what I do affects you. See, our lives and experience are not merely the result of our choices (even though we grew up thinking that’s all that mattered). Our life and experience are affected by all of all of our choices.
We are in this together.
Unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction to this pandemic has been dominated by self-centered thinking. Store shelves are empty while basements are stocked for Armageddon. People got sick while our political leadership hoped to get through this unscathed. Many people still refuse to let their lives be interrupted by the health crisis of others. And, let us not forget, we only started taking this seriously when the stock market began losing our money.
During these tumultuous and difficult times, the interconnectedness of humanity is on full
display. Our impact on each other is unavoidable. Confronted with that reality (and by now I think most of us have felt some sort of disruption from the current situation) it is time to ask ourselves a selfless question: what are we willing to do, to give, and to sacrifice to help our neighbors?
A lot of “experts” think they have the answer to that question. On one side we hear advice to hoard and hibernate. On the other side we find St. Patty’s Day partiers mocking the virus. Hopefully, in the midst of all of this we can also hear what Jesus has to say. Remember, friends, what he said when he was asked what the most important rules were. He said:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
He also said, in another gospel, that true love was the willingness to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:13). In other words, sacrifice. In our context, this might mean coming together for each other means staying apart for each other. It might mean love requires sacrifice.
As far as I can tell, no one is asking us to lay down our lives (even though it might feel that way). Rather, I think what people are now asking is music to God’s ears:
What are we willing to do,
what are we willing to give,
and what are we willing to sacrifice to help each other?
After all, we are in this together.
In the Way,