April 24, 2020
I don’t know about you, but there are some days when I wish I hadn’t read the news, hadn’t watched tv. Who in their right mind thinks that injecting bleach or isopropyl alcohol is a good idea? It’s fatal. That’s one of the things we teach our toddlers, right?
Who in their right mind thinks it is a good, right and patriotic thing to refuse to support our states as they bear the costs of fighting to keep us all safe? Why on earth would one of our Senators say that he didn’t support help to states that vote Democratic? Partisan politics has no place in emergencies.
We are so fortunate to live in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to have competent and compassionate leaders. They are leaders who know the meaning of cooperation, who are working across the dividing lines of hostility, who are making our world safer, not just for you or for me, but for our communities, our states, our part of the country, and all the world. They are willing to sacrifice, to give a little here to get a little there.
And it’s sacrifice I want to raise up here. Sacrifice is part and parcel of the successful life, the thriving life, even the “safe” life (safe is a big thing these days). We are in the midst of not only a medical emergency but a fight to the death between selfishness and sacrifice. Think of the selfishness of a large company repackaging itself to look small so they can have millions of government dollars – only to realize, when their actions are made public, that they’ve also earned the contempt of all around them.
A sacrifice is the opposite: it is an act which freely gives, that another may have life. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). To give up that to which one has some sort of claim, or to give more than generously to save another’s life; to purchase 10 cans of soup and give them all away that the hungry might eat and be filled; those are sacrifices. Those who serve in our armed forces, who offer their lives that we and our children might be safe and free – that’s a sacrifice.
And sometimes, staying home, wearing a mask, not going to the beach – those are all sacrifices too.
I’d hoped to begin to think about when and how we might worship together again. I know it won’t be this month, and I don’t think it’ll be next month, but it sure would be pleasant to think about the ways we might gather in June, but the daily round of news reports has been so bizarre that I just worry that someone out there is going to inject Lysol or alcohol or even drink bleach and die. So I’m going to close today with a prayer for today from the Church of England. When all this gets to be too much, come back to this and hold on tight: God loves us, God cares for us, and so we care for God’s world.
Easter blessings, Pastor Virginia