Pastoral Reflection, Our 35th Week in Official Pandemic Status — November 20, 2020

It’s been a tough week, it’s true.  We have done a good job in these islands minimizing the effect of the virus.  But just now it’s not safe for people to come here without testing and quarantining, and going off island isn’t recommended either except for necessary things like medical appointments.  (Costco feels pretty necessary to me, but I’m working on correcting that notion in my head.)
It’s time to embrace the spirituality of staying home. So we’re just going to have to re-frame things.  How about this: when a highly communicable virus is spreading among us, the most loving way to treat our neighbor is through physical distance.  And then there’s what Jesus to the Apostles – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
 
How can we be “witnesses to the ends of the earth” right now?  I leave you with the question, and a poem by Lynn Ungar, written 3/11/20.    –Pr. Beth 
 
PANDEMIC 
What if you thought of it 
as the Jews consider the Sabbath— 
the most sacred of times? 
Cease from travel. 
Cease from buying and selling. 
Give up, just for now, 
on trying to make the world 
different than it is. 
Sing. Pray. Touch only those 
to whom you commit your life. 
Center down.
And when your body has become still, 
reach out with your heart. 
Know that we are connected 
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. 
(You could hardly deny it now.) 
Know that our lives 
are in one another’s hands. 
(Surely, that has come clear.) 
Do not reach out your hands. 
Reach out your heart. 
Reach out your words. 
Reach out all the tendrils 
of compassion that move, invisibly, 
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love– 
for better or for worse, 
in sickness and in health, 
so long as we all shall live.

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