Amidst feelings of inadequacy and grace-filled empowerment, I write knowing that words scratch the surface of this incredible, terrible, powerful moment as the world is in the midst of a pandemic. For Western Christians, this is Holy Week when we recall Jesus’ journey to the cross and, on Easter, the empty tomb of the Resurrection. In a pandemic, there is new depth to this message of God’s self-emptying and life-restoring love.
Perhaps, like me, you have been trying to read everything you can on how to—during quarantine—have community, learn new technology and ways of ministering, stay updated on the disease, continue to work for justice in a world still in the muck and mire of white supremacy and greed; all of this, while finding ways to support and care for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and that of your family, congregation, and your community.
In the midst of all this, I send you greetings of solidarity and hope.
Here are words written by Richard Rohr on March 19, 2020:
“Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation.
We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love.
But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us….
…And we have to allow these feelings, and invite God’s presence to hold and sustain us in a time of collective prayer and lament.
I hope this experience will force our attention outwards to the suffering of the most vulnerable. …Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts (1 Corinthians 13:13).”
The Rev. Dr. Laura S. Sugg
Jefferson County Faith Leaders Table
Wheat Ridge Presbyterian Church