Coping with Covid-19; and, hopefully, not feeling crushed or exceedingly cramped. This week pretty much marks the four-month mark since the virus showed up in Canada. By and large, our nation has responded rather well. All provinces except Ontario and Quebec have managed to exercise a good deal of containment and control. In Ontario, only Windsor and area and most parts of Metro Toronto are still the hot-spots. Prayers for citizens and front-line workers in those communities are essential devotional service. Yet, even though most areas are more open in the Stage Two phase,
Some of my colleagues have been bemoaning the fact that “news” from our United Church General Council office has been all about protocols and pragmatics during this time of pandemic lockdown (and now limited re-openings). What they are not hearing and missing is some theology for such times and circumstances.
The Anglican bishops of Canada did issue a pastoral epistle focused on the blessing of sabbath time which this current situation affords us. The Presbyterian church leadership, I believe, focused on how we sustain caring community,
“Love your neighbour as you love yourself”
I am fairly confident that most of us make some effort, even go beyond our normal limits, to implement the first half of this Second Great Law of Jesus. It’s on the second half that we often fall short, or almost neglect altogether.
This prolonged period of social distancing and self-isolation has likely exacerbated that, even if we are mainly cooped up at home with family or sustaining in person contact with a few friends who are “in our bubble”.
There it was, right in the middle of last Sunday’s sermon. It didn’t catch me until sometime on Sunday afternoon, even though the sermon was recorded on Friday. Just before I launched into an appeal to us all to reflect on how we ourselves are caught up in systemic racism and lingering personal prejudices that fracture our sense of human oneness, I used the lyrics from a Bob Marley song to illustrate those moments of “hearts beating as one” at a musical concert.
If We Are Really in This Together …
There are lots of signs of encouragement, new empowerment and the positive sharing of ideas, care, assistance, helpful hints, meditative and relaxation practices, updated information, music, humour, prayers and worship, virtual hugs even. Online ordering and sales have skyrocketed. The majority of people are taking social distancing and protective measures seriously, and many are finding ways to stay connected through Internet chatrooms and Zoom, etc., through short and minimized in-person visits and backyard happy hours,
Spring has certainly been
Cool and cloudy days aplenty;
some with rain.
Summer showing up early?
While everything else seems late:
the delayed return
of some song birds,
the slowness of flowers
to burst into bloom;
the lethargy of leaves
appearing on trees.
Crocuses barely began to open
by the end of March.
Daffodils, hyacinths, tulips waited until
Maybe it’s just me,
Perhaps you remember the old Peter and Gordon tune:
“Please lock me away, and don’t allow the day
here inside where I hide with my loneliness.
I don’t care what they say I won’t stay in a world without love.”
Well, Covid-19 has taken its shot at doing that; but not fully successfully.
Most of us can tell stories of how caring still happens during lockdown days.
Some of us have discovered how that happens in new ways,