May 27, 2020
For much of my life, the Holy Spirit has been the part of the Trinity with which I have felt the most connected. Perhaps it is because the Holy Spirit is often depicted as the wind, a dove, a flame. There is nothing anthropomorphic (human-like) about the Holy Spirit as it hovers over the deep in the Genesis telling of creation. Or as it descends upon Jesus at his baptism. Or that enables the Christ followers of Acts to speak in all different languages. The Holy Spirit is presence, breath, mystery, and life force. It literally inspires (as in gives breath and life) and connects all that is.
This COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our interconnectedness. We share matter, air and, yes, germs simply by breathing, touching the same objects, inhabiting shared space. None of us should be surprised that such activities as in-person worship, group singing and sharing food put as at high risk of spreading this virus because these are deeply intimate activities that involve sharing space, breath and sustenance. All of our sacraments -- the ways in which we experience God's presence manifest in our material world -- involves things like touch, water, and food.
We are inextricably linked. And this pandemic has reminded us how our patterns of consumption connect us -- to the viability of local businesses, restaurants and stores but also to farmers, hospitals, health care workers, and first responders. We rely on low wage workers who often receive few benefits -- grocery store attendants, truck drivers, farm labor often done by undocumented immigrants, child care workers, teachers, nursing home caregivers and the list goes on and on.
We have literally watched how our behavior impacts air quality and the creatures around us as the mountains grew clearer with each day during the shut down and bears, lynx, bison, and other wild animals ventured into spaces long dominated by us, humans.
Beloved ones, we can ever be an island standing alone. We cannot function in our world without one another -- no matter how much we value independence and self-sufficiency. During this pandemic, our health has been quite literally held in other people's hands: in their choice of whether to wear a mask, whether and how to go out. We are inextricably linked to one another and indeed to all the universe. As Joni Mitchell eloquently articulated a scientific truth: "we are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon...."
Through the Holy Spirit, the mystery, breath, life-force and movement, we are inextricably part of all that is and has been and will be. The question that comes to me is will we live in such a way that reflects this interconnectedness? Will we make choices that hurt or that heal the whole? I will be sitting and praying with this question this week -- I hope you will, too.
In love and peace,