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We are certainly living in unsettling times with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. I have a range of emotions surrounding this pandemic. At times I feel unsettled and nervous and waves of near panic can grip me. At other times I feel very much protected, calm and safe.

One of the practices that helps calm me is when I pray. I have a morning ritual of taking our little dog Millie out for what I call our “prayer walk.” While we are walking the neighborhood I am praying out loud. One of my practices during prayer is blessing and thanksgiving. I bless situations and circumstances and people. I give thanks and praise for the goodness that is in my life. This helps me keep perspective in that although times are unsettling right now, I am a living example that God is faithful and that God is with me along every twist and turn of life.

Sometimes I wonder why these things happen but I am reminded that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that God “causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” This tells me that we live in a world where both good and bad happen to all people. Some things are just unexplainable but they happen to all.     

Currently we are in the season of Lent on the Christian calendar. Lent is a time for reflection and self-examination. Lent leads us to Easter which is April 12 this year. The Easter story begins with betrayal, darkness and death. Jesus is dead and in a tomb. The disciples are distraught thinking all hope is gone. But eventually, they discover that Jesus’ tomb is empty. As promised, he had resurrected to new life.

Some may be reading this that do not identify with Christianity. However the symbolism of the Easter story is found in nature: dry seeds in the ground and eventually spring forth with life. Caterpillars spin themselves into a cocoon but eventually that cocoon is opened to reveal a beautiful butterfly.

As dark, lonely, isolating and unsettling as the COVID-19 outbreak is not only for our country, but globally, I believe that this is not the end of the story. My faith tells me that God does what is right every time and that even in the mist of darkness and death, life can spring forth and WILL spring forth!  

If you find yourself worried and afraid, you are not alone. I feel those same feelings from time to time. May I encourage you that as horrific as this is, God is faithful to be with us in the midst of it all. I encourage us all to pray, meditate, or do whatever spiritual practice we find most meaningful and calming. In our age of technology, you can video chat with folks from whom do you are not able to be around right now. Get proper rest and eat well. Find balance with the news. Know when to watch and know when to turn it off. Maybe the most useful resource is medical professionals. 

If you are in need of special prayer or someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me or any spiritual leader. 

Don’t lose hope! We will get through this together!

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Rick