Lent in a Time of Coronavirus

Lent in a Time of Coronavirus

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1

When I planned out Lent-ish, I had no idea that I would be writing reflections on hope during a global pandemic. I knew it would be difficult to fast from criticism and cynicism because of my personality, but I had no idea it would be so challenging based on the events in the world.


Take a breath. 

How are you doing today? 


It feels silly to write about hope right now. And? I’m reminded that hope isn’t birthed from a place where we see the path well-lit and nicely paved. That’s just observation. I see how we get from Point A to Point B because of the well-lit, nicely paved path. Hope looks into the tangle of branches and thorns and says “we can make a way through even this.”


Which means maybe writing about hope is the most important thing I could be doing right now. (Aside from washing my hands.)


Take a breath. 

What feelings are most pressing in your body today? 


Hope has often functioned as an excuse for inaction, especially in religious circles. But hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation to the obvious, nor is it an ignorant turning away from pressing realities.


Hope is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality, but it embraces sobering realities while trusting that God is with us in all things.


Hope is the opposite of desperation and panic. But hope does say, we can all help flatten the curve.


Eugene Peterson writes that: “Hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain.” There are two kinds of illusions that are appealing right now, one says that the world is ending and so we must hoard and panic, and the other says this is no big deal and we should proceed with life as normal.


Both of these are fabrications to protect us from our boredom and pain.


Take a breath.
How can you act in hope today?

In ways that demonstrate a resolve to help flatten the curve? In ways that embody love for your elderly and immunosuppressed/compromised neighbors?


Hope says handwashing matters.
Cynicism says nothing we do will stop this.


Hope says staying home is an act of love right now.
Cynicism says “it’s just like a bad flu.”

Hope is less about bright, bubbly expectations and more like looking a sobering reality full in the face and refusing to look away because the only way we get to the other side of things is to not look away.


To return to the analogy of the path, there is no well-lit, nicely paved way here. If we’re going to forge our way ahead through brambles and thorns, then we must look ahead at where we’re going, pay attention to where we’re swinging to cut away branches, but also not get bogged down in examining to see if every leaf we pass is poison ivy.


Take a breath.
How can you love your neighbor today?
How can you be vigilant and gracious? 

We make the way through this by practicing hope.
By doing whatever we can and trusting that it will matter.
By not looking away.

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