Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Romans 8: 6-11
John 11: 1-45
Pandemic by Lynn Ungar, 3/11/20
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath--
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
Today I witnessed a group of Christian leaders [online] searching their souls, calling forth any wisdom they could share to help us church folk weather these difficult times. There was plentiful good advice. Someone shared the poem, above.
Later this afternoon, our Conference Minister shared a letter from Rev. Matt Crebbin, pastor of Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, in Newtown, Connecticut— yes, THAT Newtown: the one where a man invaded the elementary school and shot many children. Rev. Crebbin ministered to traumatized people beside that school, on that horrible day and through the years since. But today Rev. Crebbin ministered to us, his colleagues, advising us about some things he had learned through crisis. One of his suggestions was to use our bodies to calm our minds— our minds which are tempted to go off in unhelpful directions in the midst of ugly, unwanted events. He recommends walking, yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, breathing techniques, meditation, prayer, and mindfulness training as possible ways to let our bodies lead our troubled minds to a better state.
If you have been curling up inside with stress since this current wave of trouble hit us, it is time to focus on taking good care of your body and your spirit. Unless we do that, we will be of little use to anybody else, and we’ll certainly fail to live up to our God-given callings.
So please, seek out some healthy exercise, some intentional ways of meditation and prayer, some spiritually uplifting (which is not the same as feel-good mind candy) art and practices of body and mind. I and others of our church folk will be sharing opportunities— perhaps in the form, of TV programs or online videos you can follow. Who knows— perhaps some of our people will share their skills and abilities with a personal flavor (yoga together on Skype? Chair exercises while on the phone together? Can that old VCR still play the exercise tapes you bought for it?)
Our Old Testament lesson this week features Ezekiel and the Dry Bones. I intend to make a video to share: you know if we were in the sanctuary, this Sunday, I’d be up there with the kids, putting some ham on Dem Bones !! But maybe we can dance it together through the wonders of modern media. Or maybe you’ll struggle to recall the words you learned, back in the day, and teach the youngsters how it’s really done !! Let them see you touch your toes and sing,
Well, the toe bone connected to the… foot bone;
The foot bone connected to the… ankle bone;
The ankle bone connected to the… shin bone:
Now hear the word of the Lord !!
If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also
through His Spirit that dwells in you.