I will not specifically write today about police because what I have to say today applies to all of us. How we live together now that we have this pandemic, the plague among us.
How now shall we live?
GIVING UP YOUR LIFE
Most of us have heard these words from Jesus, “Unless you give up your life you will lose it.” This has, for me, always been strange advice. I mean, I know what Jesus is saying metaphorically, but did he really mean it? I really have never, so far, given up my life.
This COVID-19. pandemic has made his teaching all too personal. What is my “life”? Well, my life revolves, interacts with, is dependent upon others . How can I give up people? My life involves people — intimate friendships, groups, the church congregation which I serve as a pastor.
But as I ponder these words from Jesus, I am called to do just that. Unless I give up this life — my “routine,” others will die.
I speak no longer as a 20, 50, or 70-year old, I am to be 82 years of age in a few weeks and my beloved wife, now in her late 60s, has a blood cancer that has trashed her immune system. Unless I give up my life, my old routine, there will be deaths. If I continue to live my old life, I may contribute to the deaths of many others by becoming a carrier of this deadly virus.
Giving up the life I have is difficult. Anti-social. Yet in this liturgical season of Lent, this time of preparation and self-examination, I must give up my life. Really.
The loving Christian (or anyone who professes to love humanity and work to see it flourish), is called today to give up a deeply in-grained and satisfying habit for an unknown period of time. That habit is close, face-to-face social interaction with others. It is to fast from people.
I fast because I can. It is a privilege. I stay home so that I do not contribute to the death of others. I fast from other people because I could inadvertently become a carrier of this virus and pass to on to others. I fast so that others can more safely go about the important daily functions we all need to have carried out by medical employees, electricians, plumbers, trash collectors, bus drivers and police.
In order to do so means that I must give up my life, my routine, my need to socialize, to interact with others. That’s what we as a nation are being asked to do; to give up a life in which we find comfort so that others my simply live.
God help us. And let us as pray for and support one another through this crisis.