In our tradition, the daily scriptures we begin reading now are preparing us for what is to come: the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus, and the Church was born. The passages we read from John’s Gospel are commonly referred to as Jesus’ farewell discourse, given to his disciples immediately before he is arrested and taken to be crucified. He speaks of how we will relate to him, and what is the pattern of the believer’s life. All of it is grounded in community and expressed in terms of how we love.
More than any time in our collective memory, we are experiencing global community as we never have before, explicitly expressed in acts of love – from those working on the front lines in hospitals, clinics, and research labs, to the millions of us who are gladly responding to the need to quarantine. Now we are preparing for what is to come, what is being referred to as “opening the economy.” But it is so much more than that.
We have all experienced something different during these last weeks: working from home, home-schooling our children, attending remote concerts, celebrating milestones with parades, taking long walks, eating together and eating outdoors, curbside grocery delivery, and time, more time, to be alone or to be together. Time to be.
On the other hand, for many of us, the different we are experiencing is the worry because we’re now unemployed, or we go every day to suit up and mask up to care for those who have been stricken. So much worry, and pain, and grief.
Now we’re left to prepare for what is to come. It is a time to consider what we want to hold on to from this experience of quarantine in COVID time. Perhaps we hold on to what Jesus asked his disciples to hold on to community, and love.
Listen: Hold on to Love