Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.
- Mark 7:1-8
It’s Saturday Morning and under the old normal, that stood for something in our lives. Saturday morning was farmer’s market day, breakfast with the kids, soccer at the Fly, a reflective walk among the City Park oaks, Beignet. Definitely slower…a morning to let the engine of life’s commerce idle curbside, while we took a bike-ride on the levee.
This morning we wake up into another normal. Life is at a strange, mandated stand-still, and the engine of life’s commerce is in the driveway, red-hot, redlining; demanding to know how it’s going to be fed. It feels as though we have awakened into a great natural disaster, yet there was no wind or fire or water or trembling earth. The only damage we see is the cannibalized hulk of our old normal. And death.
We are frozen in place, and the certainty we used to rely on to face such calamity was sucked into televisions and computer screens where we sought to name the monster at our front door. Is it the invisible, lung-eating, viral fog from China? Or is it our fear of the financial calamity the death-fog has created? Or is it the ravening dogs Worry and Confusion, unleashed by an evolving mandate to stay home and sing Happy Birthday to our soapy hands - while beloveds die?
It’s Saturday, and it seems all the demons are at the front door. Worry and Confusion are teased to a frenzy because we know there’s a life-altering pestilence unfolding around us; and it’s not clear, what’s to do. No wonder we are hoarding toilet paper and Purell liquid.
This is not who we are as Christians, as Americans, as human beings. Christians name the wound; and heal. Americans see strangers on rooftops and launch the Cajun Navy. Compassion, cooperation, ingenuity, selfless love, and shared resource; that’s how we do this disaster thing, dammit! Not this.
I need to move beyond this moment. I want to remember today as the day the Trinity community began leading a way forward that takes delight in vanquishing unseen demons. I want to remember today as the day we looked up from web pages foraging for trustworthy facts; and reached deep into our souls to find truths. But I don’t know where to start. Nothing makes logical sense
Sometimes when logic and order and mastery fail us, we have to find our way in prayerful application of the Apollo Thirteen Method. We wash our hands of old thinking, then dump onto the table, only those things about which we are certain. Then, together we confect a Christian way back home. It is a creative journey that will require us to look at old assumptions with new eyes.
I put the following on the table:
Carl Jung put the Latin into circulation; “Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus, Deus Aderit"; “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” God is present in all we do and are. God is present in all that vexes us and in all we challenge in battle. God desires that we claim his presence, especially his presence found in the thorny or unclear places.
Jesus sent us into the world to heal one another by the power of His name. He sent us to seek demons; call them out by name; and send them back into the darkness. He gave us the power of His name as a balm and as a sword. He gave us the presence of the Holy Spirit to tutor us through our creative uncertainty.
God gave us a gene, the altruism gene, that drives us to preserve our tribe, once we have put the oxygen mask over our own face. Self-preservation; then immediately, preservation of our species. We are hard-wired for this work. We cannot, not do it.
God bound it all together with perfect, redemptive Love. Gorgeous, frightening, unfathomable; made incandescent in the giving. “If it’s not about Love, it’s not about God.” Frankly, if the way forward is not about Love, we’d best find a new source for toilet paper and Purell.
Come, my beloveds, let’s wash our hands and create a new way home.
Lord, as I take the place you set for me at your work-table of Holy wayfinding, be patient with me as I learn to own your gift of worthiness. Open my eyes anew, that I may see with Love alone in the creation of a new way home. Amen.