COVID: The invitation we were waiting for

Approx. read time: 3:20 min.

Like trees standing tall together, we have it in us to stand tall together in the presence of all that could overwhelm us.

Alright, already! I hear God lamenting.

If only my people—that would be all of us, everywhere—If only my people would understand: It’s all about love!

No matter what the matter is, it’s all about love.

I have a hunch that God is speaking about all-caps LOVE, the hidden force in the Universe that holds us and binds us all together in the cause of Life. 

These days, COVID is part of the reality in which we do our loving.

Which means: COVID is not the Enemy.

COVID is the invitation we’ve been waiting for, the invitation to truly come together, to “be one,” as Jesus fervently prays in John 17, as our world swings between disintegration and hope.

COVID is an invitation, I say, to embrace our humankind-ness, to embrace our true and global kinship, our fraternity, to use a word close to the heart of Pope Francis.

COVID is your invitation and mine into our own epiphany, as Thomas Merton surely had his, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut in downtown Louisville. He realized, in a flash of insight, that he loved all these people, even though they were strangers to him. He understood that they were his, and he was theirs, that there was no separation.

We are invited now to step out of our silos of separateness. 

Having grown accustomed to our personal freedoms and rights, we are now invited to learn about personal responsibility, the bedrock of our larger social responsibility, especially, during COVID, for the health and well-being of others, even strangers. 

The Gospel calls this responsibility loving—not jeopardizing, and not judging—but loving your neighbor.

It’s our time and our turn to do unto others as we would have them do unto us—i.e., cut them some slack, give them some grace. LOVE them, for crying out loud, and hold open a space for them to be their courageous, fully alive, and better self.

Are the vaccines perfect in every possible way? I have no idea what that might mean. But this is no time to make the imagined perfect in every way the enemy of the proffered good. 

Something more is asked of us now. Dare I say it? Sacrifice. This COVID season is a call for all hands on deck. An urgent call to snap our attention to the crisis at hand. Time to pull together in common purpose.

Life is knocking at our doors, inviting us, pleading with us, to go beyond ourselves, to be inconvenienced for a little while, as we heal from this present affliction that torments the body of humanity.

Inviting us, I say, and pleading with us, to heal ourselves from the ever-present self-inflicted wound of separateness, which may be the larger inconvenience. 

Inviting us, really, to undergo a transformation of attitude and heart, as the Apostle Paul urges often.

This is an amazing invitation!

We are invited to reclaim and reinhabit our innate interdependence as human family. We need each other—whole, healthy, and committed to the flourishing of Life that is larger and more amazing than any of us and all of us together.

We know the magnitude of the invitation by the intensity of the pushback. 

Still, we have it in us to act with courage. 


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