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THE COVID-19 PARADOX

Every so often we are given an opportunity to take a step back and re-examine our lives. This feels like one of those times. We are being given the opportunity, albeit a forced one, to re-evaluate how we have been living and the consequences – both good and not so good – of our pre-pandemic life. We also now have the opportunity to re-imagine what life can look like as we move forward from this moment. One thing is certain, this global crisis has changed things forever. And this could be a very good thing.


Not for a minute do I dismiss the horrifying effects of the Global Covid-19 crisis. The fear, grief and frenzy that it has produced, and the alarming death toll that it is leaving in its wake is frightening to the collective soul of our global community. It’s a paradox that something so alarming and threatening can also offer gifts, but there are already some good things coming out of this common struggle. The coronavirus is holding a mirror in front of us all. It is a mirror that is asking us all to take a good, long look at ourselves and ask ourselves real questions about what we see looking back at us. In this way, Covid-19 also feels like a gift that is forcing us to strip-away some of the scales from our eyes and to see new ways of being in relationship with one another, with God, and with our planet. It’s allowing us to loosen our grip on what is non-essential and to see what is truly important. It’s helping us to see that life is as precious and fragile as the flame of a candle. It’s a wake-up call for sure.


One of the gifts of social distancing brought on by this virus is that we are now invited to turn inward. We are encouraged to discover and rediscover the power of the Divine Reality of God that lives within us and always has. We are allowed to experience the richness of God that exists first not in a church building, mosque, synagogue, or temple, but within the human heart. We are encouraged to re-examine our relationship with God and how we live out our faith. We are encouraged now to re-imagine what worship looks like, both in content and context. I find this refreshing and exciting as we look beyond old constructs and step into new horizons. Jesus once said that we cannot pour new wine into old wineskins lest the skins burst. Now we have the opportunity with this “new wine” – this new way of approaching God – to create new containers that are flexible and able to expand as we bring new awareness and vision to our worship and life together.


It also feels like our planet is now demanding that we listen. We have for too long been deaf to the cries of the beautiful creation around us that is now insisting on having its way. Planes are grounded and cars are parked resulting in cleaner air. We are seeing stars in the sky like we have never seen them in our generation. We are being forced to slow the frenzied pace of life and stop … and listen … and breathe.


The global pandemic is causing chaos and insecurity in our financial markets that is creating hardship for many, but most particularly the most vulnerable among us. This is causing many to look at our relationships with others with new eyes and realize the profound beauty and truth of thinking of other’s well-being before our own.


But the one over-arching grace that I see in all of this is how we are coming together as a people. Sure, there are those who seem to have their own self-interests or agendas first in mind, but they are the minority. There may be those who argue about how to best flatten the curve but in the meantime, many Americans and people around the globe are forging ahead with compassion and love, doing the things for each other and with each other that is nothing short of grace, and it is amazing. This pandemic is bringing out the best of who we are as human beings and as people of God. In some ways, we have never been so deeply connected at the heart of our collective soul, and that is a good thing.


I’m proud to be a part of this community that is working so hard to make things work for the greater good. If there was ever a time to claim our identity as people who strive for justice, peace and dignity for all people, it is now. As a community, we are rising to the call of the moment. But we still have a long way to go, and we will go together.

I am not too interested in things returning to whatever our illusion of normal was before the Covid-19 wake-up call. We are being given a real glimpse of what a healthier, brighter future might look like. It’s a vision of a cleaner, more intentional, more connected future. We would do well to listen closely to the wisdom that is being offered to us in this moment. It is wisdom that can lead us into a better life. And it is a gift.


Brother Dennis

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