As winter approaches, the night creeps in earlier and earlier. It seems an apt metaphor for the fear which seems to be gripping our collective consciousness. Throughout the country stories of the virus filling hospitals and morgues reminds us that we are not immune to a second wave. This plague seems almost biblical in its proportions, in its grip on our imaginations and its impact on our lives. In an age where we have mastered so much knowledge and technology, we all understand how fragile and vulnerable human existence is now and has always been. We are approaching a paralyzing state of fear.
In the midst of this fear we are also witnessing a fraying of our social contract. Our institutions that always seemed to offer safety and security are challenged, even as our very ideas of truth and facts are not held by a common consensus.
It is easy to be brave when there are no threats. But where can we turn now?
For many of us, we will find strength and courage in our faith. Our faith is more than a belief in certain ancient facts or miracles. Our faith uses these ancient stories to find a deeper meaning and perspective in our current situation. As we read about acts of courage, liberation and healing, we come to understand these are messages for these desperate days.
As we read in this week’s gospel story, the one who imagines a cruel god, has created a self fulfilling prophecy. In contrast, the one who lives with the image of the Biblical God, will find inner richness and strength. In the narrative context, this richness is not a recipe for personal salvation, so much as it is a call for radical engagement with the world. By seeing and responding to human need, by offering love and dignity to the marginalized and rejected, we participate in the Eternal Now!
Our faith in a loving God calls us to compassionate ministry and into the spirit of Christ. In this spirit, we lose fear and feel the connection of the great web of life. We come to understand St. Paul when he rhetorically asks, “Who can separate us from the love of God?” Or again writes, "Oh death where is they sting?" Meaning supersedes mortality, love conquers all.
In this current darkness, let us find the ancient faith that is the light of the world. Let us bring that light to as many individuals as we can. Let us bring hope to the hopeless, love to the loveless, forgiveness to the forsaken. When we become agents of this good news we participate in the eternal now of the divine presence and lose the fear that so easily binds our souls and condemns us in our imagination.