This week’s devotion is a bit different than most. It is more of a summary of what’s on my heart with regard to recent news items. I spent much of last night trying to put my thoughts into words: for a Facebook post. During my 30 years ministry I’ve been a police chaplain for 15. Just last week I was called out around midnight to share with a death notification. Overall, I appreciate the work they do, like overall I appreciate the work of my pastoral colleagues. That said, sometimes pastor’s cross serious boundaries they should not, as do police. Because of their profession, when that happens the damage done is worse because of their professional responsibilities. So, these thoughts on Police, Racism, Covid-19, and Prayer.
Recently I read the line, “Freedom does NOT mean you get to drill a hole in the boat we are all sitting in.” As you may have guessed, the line has to do with Covid-19 precautions. This last week a store manager was physically attacked for asking a woman to wear a mask she already had hanging around her neck; a DNR/Park Ranger was pushed off the dock into the water while asking people to socially distance; a Family Dollar security guard was shot and killed after asking a woman to refrain from entering the store without a mask; a bus-driver was spit upon for asking a rider to put on a mask pre-boarding as per policy; a police officer was spit on after asking a person to put on a mask.
You are the first to see my personal, hand-held, Covid-19 protection-shield. Micro-droplets are caught before they even reach the mask. In the words of a famous song, “I will survive.” In the words of a Bugs Bunny vocal warm up cartoon, “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me.” Actually, I’m not carrying it around. It’s just an old motorcycle windshield. The real truth about Covid-19 comes from another commercial — “that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.”
If anything good can be found in this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that we are reminded surviving this pandemic is only possible if we embrace a mind-set that asks, “how can I keep from spreading this virus? How can I keep from catching this virus is NOT enough?” Our health, wellness and ability to thrive as individuals begins with us striving keeping others healthy, well and thriving.
The Covid-19 world insists we are not self-sufficient. We’re super-dependent upon an endless array of “essential-workers.” Sure, some of us nearly bald fellows can cut our own hair; as can some of you talented folk. But I cannot fill all the potholes on my daily commute, manufacture my own toilet paper, or raise my own cow. So, I need to be concerned about the health and working conditions of meat plant workers–and every essential-worker. I can’t whip up own prescriptions from scratch or create electricity to energize so much of my life. I can’t stay well, without others who are acting “as if” they have the Novel Corona virus. More importantly, others can’t stay well, unless I act “as if” I have the virus and take precautions to protect them—because we spread the virus for days before we know we have it. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in a myriad of complex ways.
I believe Jesus’ teachings and way of life were meant for times like these. Jesus said, “All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will save them.” (Luke 9:24) Jesus’ teachings and actions reveal his mindset that the world is a safer, better place when our daily focus is on serving others rather than protecting ourselves. That is why Jesus’ taught his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven selfishness has no place. And, that is part of Jesus’ dream for earth. The more deeply we show love to our neighbors, the better we will get through this.
I invite us to pray with a servant mindset, “God, help me be part of keeping others people safe and well everyday through my considerate actions. Amen.”
Blessings and May You Be Well,
25 years ago this week, (April 19, 1995) 168 people were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. After 25 years that day is foggy. But, I do recall a deep horror that daycare children died in the bombing. Logically, all those killed, whatever age, were God’s children. Emotions don’t always follow logic. Like with other national disasters and acts of terror the whole nation went into mourning–though most of us didn’t know the people who died.