In many ways, this pandemic has brought out the best in us. These include our everyday heroes, daily risking their own safety and health to care for those infected by COVID-19. Some of these have made the ultimate sacrifice, dying from that very virus as they sought to save others afflicted with it. Other essential workers have carried on in their jobs, taking precautions but accepting the risk to which their daily work exposes them. Teachers have worked tirelessly at helping their students with e-learning, neighbors have been intentional about making sure those on their street have what they need and offer to shop and get what they lack. We’re praying for each other and checking in with one another using our smart phones and our land lines. Donations of time and staples are helping food pantries meet steeply rising demands and more than a few folks have re-discovered the value of a hand written note or card.
As this pandemic runs its course and sheltering in place drags on, will our best selves continue to shine forth? I hope so. I’m optimistic it can based on what I’ve observed in our country at large (with some exceptions) and certainly, what I’ve seen among the community that is Edgebrook Covenant Church.
However, I am not naïve. Stressful, uncertain times and suffering we are not accustomed to, can give rise to manifestations that are less than our best selves. Particularly when those times move out of the crisis moment and into a longer term reality, the temptation to lose heart and replace compassion for others with self preservation at all costs can be devastating, for us personally and any community collectively.
The reality of the danger of being exposed by the corona virus is as real as the danger of being exposed to the corona virus. The potential damage of being exposed by the corona virus can harm our witness for Christ (as expounded so powerfully in Mary Spriggs sermon on April 19) if we do not maintain trust in Jesus and a vigilant pursuit of obeying Christ’s call for the duration of this pandemic.
Sarah Bourns warns of this in her poem entitled “Exposed” (shared at the end of this article). The Alliance Theological Seminary’s website assessed this poem in these words: “In the midst of an invisible enemy’s assault on life as we previously knew it, Sarah Bourn’s words break through our current stupor to look inward and to hold a mirror to our hearts. Sarah, an Alliance Theological Seminary Master of Divinity student, makes a poignant assessment of our world’s condition in her powerful poem.”
I offer Sarah’s poem to us all as a potentially convicting and in the end powerfully hopeful word of how both the truth and grace of the Gospel can insure that whatever sin the corona virus exposes within us, it does not have to have the final word in our personal lives, in our church communities, and in our world. Will we heed its warning and pursue its remedy? Time will certainly tell…. Pastor Greg
By Sarah Bourns
We’ve all been exposed.
Not necessarily to the virus
(though maybe…who knows)
We’ve all been exposed BY the virus.
Corona is exposing us.
Exposing our weak sides.
Exposing our dark sides.
Exposing what normally lies far beneath the surface of our souls,
hidden by the invisible masks we wear.
Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind.
Corona is exposing our addiction to comfort.
Our obsession with control.
Our compulsion to hoard.
Our protection of self.
Corona is peeling back our layers.
Tearing down our walls.
Revealing our illusions.
Leveling our best-laid plans.
Corona is exposing the gods we worship:
Our sense of security.
Our favorite lies
Our secret lusts
Our misplaced trust.
Corona is calling everything into question:
What is the church without a building?
What is my worth without an income?
How do we plan without certainty?
How do we love despite risk?
Corona is exposing me.
My mindless numbing
My endless scrolling
My careless words
My fragile nerves.
We’ve all been exposed.
Our junk laid bare.
Our fears made known.
The band-aid torn.
The masquerade done.
So what now? What’s left?
What Corona reveals, God can heal.
Come Lord Jesus.
Have mercy on us.