It’s the end of the week, crabbing season has just opened and the harbor and local waters are brimming with boats. That’s probably why I’m hearing the ferry horn so frequently of late. Usually it’s the charming three note tune that signal a ferry entering or departing the dock.
But in the last several days I’m also hearing the ominous sound of five short blasts. Anyone who owns a boat should know that it means you are in danger, and if you don’t pay attention, someone’s going to get hurt. Everyone seems to get the message although occasionally the ferry has to slow down which, as you can imagine, does not make the wheelhouse crew very happy.
I wish that we had such an effective warning system for our interactions within the human community. As humans we have a genius for getting in each other’s space. If only we had a mutually understood way of signaling that something we’re doing is going to end in physical, mental, or spiritual injury if someone doesn’t change course now.
And it seems that even though we have more freedom now from pandemic restrictions, tempers are still short. Maybe even shorter than last summer, with all its violence. My working theory is that we’re all struggling with stress disorders from dealing with COVID.
But as Jesus said over and over, we’re all in this (life, that is) together and we need to take care of each other. Yet mutual care and keeping someone from getting hurt never seems to be the bottom line for us. Even though failing to do these things betrays God’s lovingkindness.
It seems like now more than ever we need to get better at looking at how we endanger one another and, subsequently ourselves. For us to really follow Jesus, we need to alter course.
Can we shift to considering the end result of all our attitudes and actions? We’ll know if we’re making progress when our criteria is not, does this violate my principles, but instead, will this answer someone’s fear, pain, poverty, hunger, or illness? I join with Jesus in believing that we can get there.
In the Love of Christ,
P.S. It’s still a Wild West show out there with the pandemic. As we gather for in-person worship, please remember that everyone is welcome, but safety protocols require that everyone over the age of 2 who is not vaccinated must wear a mask. It’s how we practice mutual care, after all.
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.