During the coronavirus pandemic we are being asked to do so many things that are counterintuitive to what has been our preferred norm. No concerts, plays, theme parks, or sporting events. No restaurants. No cruises. No church. No school. No parties. No hugs or handshakes. No gatherings above 500, then it was 250, then 50, 25, and now no more than 10 people in immediate proximity. Keep your distance. Stay home if you’re sick. Don’t cough or sneeze unless into your arm.
Being forced into a fast is rarely preferred. Normally we choose our fasts according to what seems most dominant and in greatest need of pause. Today we are in the midst of a culturally mandated fast. And all for the good of the most vulnerable, which is reason enough to join an abundance of wisdom and caution.
What part of this pandemic is most troubling to you? Are you fearful of the disease? Or of the dis-ease? Concerned about the health of loved ones? Or skeptical about the need to panic or even prepare? Worried about the stock market and your/our financial future? Not liking the social distancing? Or is it the government’s evolving demands?
We seem to be all over the map in our response. Some are approaching it with grace and patience. Others are selective or oblivious. Still others are filled with fear and anxiety. We need to recognize and honor one another in spite of our opinions. Bottom line: we need to flatten the curve, do all we can to spare lives, optimize the medical community, and pray for God’s protection, mercy, strength, and healing.
It’s timely that we’re also in the season of Lent. A time to fast, to be humbled, to let go of ourselves and look to the greater good. The call today is for compassion, humility, grace, and patience. All of which are incredibly counterintuitive to our common humanity. But, rise to the occasion we must, and will, and we will eventually look back and reflect, reconsider, and recalibrate for the days ahead.
Fasting from the intuitive has become our shared mission…“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
May it be so! Amen.