Discipleship in the Time of Pandemic: This Too Shall Pass

Discipleship in the Time of Pandemic: This Too Shall Pass

This past Sunday was Easter Sunday and like many folks around the Conference, I was feeling despondent because it was not going to be the Easter that I am used to.  I was feeling like how the Who’s in Whoville were feeling when they discovered all their Christmas preparations had been stolen away by the Grinch.  Except, of course, for us, the Grinch turns out to be an invisible-to-the-eye virus that has stolen away our Easter. And yet…
Easter came.  It came in song and story.  It came in prayer and dance.  It came as Hope.  It came. In his letter to the Romans, that church planter Paul wrote, 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Of course, Easter came.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  This Easter, we were reminded once again that the dark of the tomb was replaced by the light and the life of resurrection.  We certainly needed to be reminded of that because we are all living through a dark time now. Every day we hear of more and more people becoming sick, of more and more people dying.  Some of us are hunkered down in our homes and have been for a month. We are becoming used to interacting with  others on computer screens.  Some of us have rediscovered jigsaw puzzles and good books while others of us are overburdened in hospitals, giving everything they’ve got to save as many people as is humanly possible from the death that this virus can cause. In this dark time, they are the disciples among us. They know that this is a dark time and yet, we know that God is with us and “this too shall pass.” 
I don’t know about you but I have always hated that expression. “This too shall pass.”  When I was a teenager going through the angst that the teenage years can bring, my mother would regularly annoy me by saying, “This too shall pass.”  At the time I didn’t know that this was an old Persian adage that speaks to the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition.  I only knew that saying it was of no help to me whatsoever.  It seemed like a dismissal of my pain, a trivialization of what I was going through – which looking back on it, was probably pretty trivial.  But it didn’t feel trivial at the time.  In the years since,  I have heard others say these words when times were hard.  And they always felt wrong to me, just like they did when I was a teenager.  The irony at this time is that I have been saying that very thing to myself every day since this pandemic hit America’s shores.  I say it certainly not to trivialize what is happening to us.  For what is happening is anything but trivial.  No, I say it to remind myself that God is with us.  I say it to give me strength to wake each morning with hope.  I say it to remind myself that in our darkest times, God has always been here, always been near. This too shall pass and nothing can separate us from the love of God.  The prophet Isaiah said the same thing:  
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  Isaiah 41:10
This too shall pass. 


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Marilyn Baugh Kendrix

The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix is Bridge Conference Minister. Kendrix, a 2013 graduate of Yale Divinity, earned that school’s Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise in pastoral leadership, the highest prize conferred on a graduating student ...

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