Trust and Pandemic in the Midst of Lent

There are firsts in our lifetimes that we would rather not experience; and, the Coronavirus pandemic is one such first. Within my 34 years as an Episcopal priest, 30 of which I have been the leader of the congregation, I have only twice had to cancel church services and that was because of extreme weather; once an ice storm, and once a hurricane. Yet, never before have I cancelled Sunday worship to practice social distancing and help prevent the outbreak of a virus and pandemic. These are really very hard leadership decisions in which those whom you serve must trust you. And, what is ever so clear in this present and tragic time is that trust is at the core of how we must together move forward.

Henri Nouwen once wrote: “Trust is the basis of life. Without trust, no human being can live.” And, I would add that no relationship or marriage, no institution, nor nation can survive and live as well. This month, March 2020, we have unwillingly entered the uncharted waters of a pandemic in which trust has become central to our getting through this time. And it behooves those in positions of leadership, and those that are the medical professionals to be worthy of such a trust.

The Psalmist writes : “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3). Our nation and the world are now living in quite fearful times. We see empty shelves in our grocery stores; that fear perhaps best epitomized in the insanity of the hoarding of toilet paper for no apparent reason. Fear is always a normal part of our lives, and a pandemic such as this exacerbates and brings it to the forefront. However, as people of faith we know that with God alongside us, we can turn to Him in these darkest of moments and know that He will see us through.

Although we may have great difficulty trusting some that are in positions of leadership, there are many in whom we can trust. And above all in this time, as I have throughout my life and ministry, we can trust in God—the Holy presence of God living, moving, and holding us up in the darkest of times.

Let us pray for all in the world who have lost their lives to COVID 19, to those presently suffering and yet to come. Let us give thanks for the doctors, nurses, and health care professionals fighting the good fight. And, in this holy season of Lent when we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, pray for those in leadership and trust that God will see us through this time…

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