on this fourth Sunday in Lent, we dare to call out the lies circulating in a world under viral threat and to declare the truth as You have revealed and embodied it.
FIRST, the lie that this is hype or hoax invented and exaggerated to scare or manipulate us.
NO, from ancient times a good creation has gone rogue, guided by an enemy seeking to destroy us.
SECOND, the lie that we are alone and on our own.
NO, it is not good for the one to be alone; we have been given one another, and multiple opportunities to connect even in a time of social-distancing. There is more than one way to be together!
THIRD, the lie that You, O God, are angry and have sent a scourge to punish us.
NO, You, O God, are loving and have sent a Son to redeem and heal us.
FOURTH, the lie that You, O God, are content to be above the fray, observing at a distance, as the Grand Master of social and spiritual distancing.
NO, You, O God, emptied Self, to become one of us and one with us, and did so at every level–genetically, cellularly, bodily, in Spirit and Truth.
FIFTH, the lie that You, O God, cannot or will not help, other than to provide other-worldly reward for the few who somehow endure to the end.
No, You, O God, by emptying Self have created room to draw into Yourself all creaturely and human suffering, crying and dying.
You, O God, have taken on our burdens–both those thrust upon us and those seized by us; You have exposed Yourself to the scourge and toxins that threaten us and the world, and are now profoundly with us; You have bonded with these poisons to Your own undoing and for our re-making; and You have done all this not for a few but for the whole of reality. Yes, You have done so, on the strength of Your unrelenting and all-abounding love!
Now, O God, in these continuing days of viral threat, grant us grace to hear the continuing call of Jesus our Lord–to deny the small horizons of self-focused living, and join You in cross-bearing our world toward Easter’s Sonrise.
In the Name above all names, Amen.