At this stage of the coronavirus outbreak, the main feeling I have is that we are settling into a new normal. The routines of work and being at home and connecting with people have all shifted dramatically, and landed in a new place. But they have landed. Maybe it is my need for order and predictability. Maybe it is my need to take in major changes a little bit at a time. But I feel that I have a sense of this new normal—and I’m sure it’s going to change.
I have heard recently where people compare this moment in history to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Some of the changes of that event were short-lived and fairly easy to adjust to: flights were grounded for a while, then those of us who fly on airplanes got used to increased security. A bigger shift from 9/11 was the geopolitical change that occurred, changing the way Americans see our relationship to the world. An innocence was lost.
This health crisis will resolve, although much more slowly than the security crisis of 9/11. It may take a year or more, because it won’t really be resolved until we have a vaccine to stop us from getting the virus, and/or an antibody test to see who is immune to it. But the bigger shifts will be in how society is ordered, both within the United States and globally. Will we change how we do health care? How power sits and decisions are made at the state versus the federal level? Will the different experience and death toll of the virus in different countries change the global balance of power, trade, and militarism?
I can think and wonder about these things today because I have enough of a sense of normalcy in this moment. I know what it feels like to do my job, live my home life, and connect with my loved ones in this new reality. For now.
My spirit reminds me that I can only do Now right now. I can’t do Later right now. In this moment, I reflect on the state of the country and the world. In this moment, I breathe into my body and feel the connection with my loved ones, my neighbors, my city, my state, my nation and my planet. My heart feels the connection with love and compassion.
I’m afraid of the changes that may come. Afraid of dictators and autocrats who will use the crisis to consolidate their power. Love and compassion, channeled into awareness and action, are the remedy against abuse of power—this has always been true, and it is true now.
I return to the wisdom of Jack Kornfield that Chris Bailey read aloud in Sunday’s worship service: we are all Bodhisattvas. We all have within us the light of the divine, the instinct to love and serve our fellow human beings. May we embrace that part of us and act accordingly, today and every day.
Divine light within me, Divine light of the stars and the sun, hear my prayer.
May the lesson of humanity in this unfolding pandemic be that we need one another. That we are at our best when we serve one another. In compassion. In love.
May people of good will in every county, in every state, in every nation around the world be awake to compassion and love. May we shelter the sick and the hungry; and may we challenge the powerful to help as well. May our love and compassion turn to righteous anger when anyone tries to profit from this tragedy or to exclude the marginalized from care.
May we all be free from suffering, and at peace in our spirits.
Amen. Blessed be.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
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