During my almost fifty years of being an Episcopalian I was always told that Lent ended after you went to church on Good Friday. This year, the going to church part is going to be tough. That doesn’t mean that Lent won’t be over. Even under a more conservative understanding of Lent, it does end on Easter Day.
I wish I could say the same about the coronavirus. It looks like it won’t go away after church today. I suspect it will be with us for a while, maybe like the flu it will be with us every year. I hope not, and I certainly hope and pray that at least we will have a vaccine and a drug we can take to modify its effects.
But since the pundits are all starting to weigh in on when and how our self-quarantines must end, let me put in my two cents about a few of the lessons I think we can learn from this crisis.
First, when we all stick together and make a modicum of a sacrifice, we can accomplish a great deal. Imagine if we devoted the same energy and money to eliminating heart disease, cancer, and mental illness. Second, we have learned to value people and what they do every day in a whole different way. Suddenly cashiers and stock boys at grocery stores are no longer taken for granted, for example. Third, there is something to be said for slowing down the pace a bit. A walk in the park, a wave to a neighbor sitting on the porch, and a few moments of time spent working a puzzle with your kids or a spouse is worth a lot more now than it used to be. That report due at the office can wait another day.
Finally, not only our health, but the health of our neighbors matters. It is important that we care about the well being of every person on this planet. We are all in this together. So on this day when we honor the sacrifice made by Christ for everyone, let’s remember that we too should sacrifice a little of God’s gifts to us for others, as well.
Please God help us remember the lessons of this most unique Lenten season. Amen.