The Coronavirus has disrupted society in unprecedented ways. I was talking to my 86 year-old step-mother the other day and she agreed that she hasn’t seen anything remotely like this since WW II. Back then, many factories were converted to produce tanks, planes, bullets and the like. Goods like gasoline, tires, sugar, meat and cheese were rationed as all Americans were asked to make sacrifices for the sake of the war effort. As my step-mother said, “I was a little girl but there was a sense that we were all in it together. Everybody had a part to play.”
Today, the Coronavirus has closed schools and businesses, has caused massive unemployment, required many events and gatherings to be cancelled, and forced most of us to spend most—if not all—of our time at home. Behind these social, economic and personal disruptions is a virus that is highly contagious with the potential to cause widespread fatalities, especially if health care resources are overwhelmed. Its impact is reaching across the United States and around the world.
So much has changed in just a few weeks, hasn’t it? And yet, at the same time, despite all the upheaval, there is so much that hasn’t changed. I was so delighted to see daffodils in full bloom next to the church parking lot. Even in the midst of the hardship, people are finding unexpected blessings and silver linings to the dark cloud of this pandemic.
It’s easy to get caught up in the current of all the news and just trying to keep your head above water in the midst of the changes, uncertainty and fear. I want to invite you to take a few minutes to prayerfully reflect on three questions. A pastor friend shared these on social media, and I think they are really helpful. They’ve been valuable for me and I hope they are valuable for you, too. You can reflect on these questions one time, weekly, or even daily.
So I invite you to ask God to be with you and think about these questions in God’s presence.
First, what has the Coronavirus outbreak taken away from you? That is a question of lament. It’s good to grieve what has been lost, whether graduations or soccer seasons, whether a job or an embrace of a grandparent.
Second, what has the Coronavirus outbreak not taken away from you? That is a question of gratitude, helping foster awareness of those things that God has given that endure.
Finally, what has the Coronavirus outbreak given to you? That is the question of blessing, as you open your eyes to new things that God has brought into your life through this crisis, whether it’s more time with your chil-dren, new connections with neighbors, a new skill, or a fresh perspective.
Invite God into your grief as you express your lament to God. Give God thanks for the gifts that endure. Thank God for the gifts and opportunities that have come, surprising as they may be. Grief, gratitude, blessings. They are all there in this crisis. They are all part of being human. They are all vital ways for us to be aware of what is going and for relating with God.
Blessings, Pastor Fred