I continue to feel like I’m living in some sort of Twilight Zone episode from my childhood, this new reality just doesn’t seem real.
I watch as people are hoarding at the expense of those vulnerable among us.
I listen as my children complain that they are bored.
I roll my eyes at many of the conspiracy theories.
I scroll through social media, looking for something funny, uplifting … anything not corona related.
And I continually end up with the same gut response and the same scripture passage being tossed around in my head.
“They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray,’
He took with him Peter and James and John and began to be distressed and agitated.
And he said to them, ‘ I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’….”
Even as I read those words aloud to myself, I’m thrown back to the Maundy Thursday services where we dim the lights and plunge into the darkness of the cross. And it stills my soul.
But now, read those words out loud, where you at this moment.
Look around you while you hear the pleading of our Savior that what will be might possibly take another direction.
And consider this.
Jesus chose the suffering.
We don’t ever choose our own suffering… it is put upon us.
We didn’t choose this virus, or the lockdowns, or the quarantines, or the school closures, or the hysteria or panic.
It is put upon us – why, that I can’t answer.
But in one tiny way, we are to follow Christ’s example, here and now, in this time of Lent and in this time of our lives.
There is a suffering that we much choose.
And much like Christ praying that it may pass, those prayers are being prayed all over the world today.
And like Christ, many of us don’t need to choose the suffering, if we were to get sick, life would continue for us.
But for others it won’t.
And it’s hard to choose such isolation when it is not for ourselves, but for those we love as well as for those only God loves.
The suffering we must choose is to follow the guidance of those that ask us to wash our hands, stay inside, limit social activities and yes… even not go to church.
While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his disciples slept, they couldn’t stay awake, they didn’t understand the magnitude of what was happening.
And neither do we.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must wake up.
We must look around and see the reality that is beyond our own selfish desires, our own fears and consider that just maybe, we could choose the suffering in order to allow someone else to live.
Following Jesus’ prayer in the garden, he was handed over to the authorities and he willingly gave his own life in order that you and I and all his beloved might live.
By the grace of God alone, we haven't been given more than we can handle.
Our communities are all being asked to step back, pray, wait ... in order that others might simply live.
I pray deeply that this might pass.
I pray deeply for those among us that are most vulnerable, that have nowhere to turn.
And I pray deeply that my own world might return to normal.
Most of all, I pray for our communities of faith as we face this together. Might we all remember that ultimate sacrifice Christ gave for each of us and be strengthened by the words of the Gospel of Matthew:
“Abba, Father, for you all things are possible.”
That is the faith in which we pray.
The faith in which we live.
And the faith which we profess.