One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” and he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” they were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands the winds and the water, and they obey him?” Luke 8:22-25 NRSV
Well, we are soon coming up on the halfway mark of 2020. So far it has been quite a year. We are in the midst of the worse health crisis since the great flu pandemic of 1918, the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929, and social unrest unmatched since the late 1960s. And it is not over. None of it is over yet. The United Methodist General Conference of 2020 has been postponed until 2021. Summer camps and activities are cancelled, some businesses are open fully, partly, not at all. Protests in the streets, mostly peaceful, but not always, can spread covid-19 besides often being dangerous in other ways. And to top it off, the weather prognosticators have promised us a very active hurricane season.
I am reminded of the old curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Well, that curse has certainly fallen on us.
Rick and I have been at lovely, tranquil Lake Junaluska for the last week and a half as I write this. (We will be back in New Bern by the time you read it.) We have no television here, and our old radio will only get a lovely classical music station. We do not get a newspaper unless Rick gets up quite early and drives into Waynesville to buy one. Although we do have internet connection here and do quite a bit of social media stuff, it is easy to ignore the news for the most part. All is serene here. As I walk around the lake everyday all seems peaceful and life seems good. Parents walking their children. Geese walking their goslings. People walking their dogs, so many in fact that for a moment I wondered if a new rule had been passed requiring a dog to accompany one on such walks. The rose walk is abloom with flowers. Trees are greener than I ever recall. Neighbors stop and talk on the street (from a safe distance). There are few cases of Covid-19. There have been no cases of social unrest that I am aware of here.
All of that is to say that I am privileged and I know it. I have a safe and peaceful place to come, and the means to do it. I am safely retired with my pensions (so far) still rolling in right on schedule. I have health insurance. I have never needed to fear police. But outside my walls there are people who are not safe. Who do fear. Who are hungry. Who lack the basic necessities of life. Have I responded to these in every way that I might? How can I do better? My question is, how can I live as a follower of Jesus in these interesting times?
O young and fearless Prophet of ancient Galilee, thy life is still a summons to serve humanity; to make our thoughts and actions less prone to please the crowd, to stand with humble courage for truth with hearts uncowed O young and fearless Prophet, we need thy presence here, amid our pride and glory to see thy face appear; once more to hear thy challenge above our noisy day, again to lead us forward along God’s holy way. UMH 444
Most gracious and holy God, who created and loves every human being, save us, we pray, from our blindness to the needs of our sisters and brothers in this world. Show us the way to live in love and harmony with one another, looking out for one another’s needs. Forgive us when we fail to be all that you would have us be, and teach us to do better. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser