Dear Siblings in Christ,
In February and March, life carried on for most of us in familiar routines. Little did we know what awaited us in mid-March, when state governors issued an unprecedented shutdown of nearly all societal public activity.
In our own time, the only events that approximate this shock for the American people are the aftermath of September 11, 2001, or earlier, the assassinations of President Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and the riots following the beating of Rodney King by police. The recent killing of George Floyd and shooting of Rayshard Brooks, on top of
the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine, have sent shock waves through American culture, and have permeated every aspect of life.
During the past three months we have had to learn to do without, to retreat from habitual and meaningful patterns of commitment, and to withdraw from a high level of consumption and frenetic activity. Also, during this time people have become ill and died, and yet many have recovered. Families have lost loved ones; many others have re-found one another. Many have labored throughout this crisis, at the risk of their own and their families’ health, to support the sick and our infrastructure. Many, many others have lost jobs and businesses. Faith communities like St. Paul’s have found ways to worship and sustain outreach to our neighbors in need.
The following are some of the questions I have been reflecting on in response to our current milieu: What distractions have fallen away in my life during these weeks and months? What simpler, essential realities have become more visible as I have dwelt in this sheltering-in-place, including that of the call for justice in our society. How have I been changed? I invite
you to reflect on these questions for yourself.
I both grieve the losses, which will continue, and look expectantly for what wisdom, creativity and new life will emerge from our collective grief and extended time of retreat. Perhaps a fruit of this time will be the replacing of our American consumerism with a simpler, more local commitment on the part of each of us to stand with and be present to one another in deeper,
more compassionate, loving, human ways. May it be so . . .
Blessings on the Journey,