Today, as I leave April behind and step into the sunshine and flowers of spring our Easter story still lingers in my heart. This morning’s “Daily Bread Devotional” drew me back to Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet. Reflecting on the question, “How do we continue to wash one another’s feet today?” these thoughts came to me.
We’ve lived with Covid-19 protocols more than a year now. We know that safety, not just for ourselves, but for the entire world, requires restrictions: physical distancing, wearing masks, washing our hands. What more blatant examples of separation from the needs of others could we employ? Stay away. Don’t come near! Not easy! In Bible stories, people with leprosy were ostracised. All but the Good Samaritan passed by on the other side of the road. At present, we Wear masks! Don’t let the breath of others rest upon us. Don’t let their needs enter into our lives. Keep them from knowing who we are. Wash our hands. Pilate washed his hands of responsibility. Must we, today? Yes, we need to live these restrictions so that we, and others may live.
So today, how do we “wash one another’s feet”? How, in the midst of this pandemic, do we heed our Christian calling to care for others? Lamenting the restrictions, wrapping ourselves in self-pity, or rebelling will bring caring to no-one, even ourselves. What then can we do? The Serenity Prayer of recovering alcoholics teaches us “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”
Acceptance is the first step. I can accept the restrictions that remain with us. I don’t have to like them. I just have to follow them. I can make and keep my appointment to be vaccinated. I can continue to wear my mask.
The second step is to live my faith within the restrictions. I can open my mind and heart to the plight of others. I can listen and look for the things that I can do safely. I can remember that “Hotspots” tend to be communities of people who have no choice but to live in crowded conditions, ride public transit to work or school. I am blessed in retirement. As my own employer, I am able to work from home. I have space and access to safe places to walk. What can I do for the hot spots? I can support responsible charities with my time and money. I can love and bring joy to those in my bubble and those trying to help me. I can reach out to others with phone calls, texts, emails good old-fashioned letters and cards. These I can do, endangering none.
Easiest of all, I CAN PRAY.
What is the value of prayer? How does prayer wash someone else’s feet, care for another living being? For me that’s the mystery of faith, the mystery of spirituality, the mystery of life. When we pray, when we talk with God, we enter into God’s world of love and energy. Prayer changes things – makes a difference. With prayer we can release our negativity and open our hearts and minds to a real desire for peace and goodness. When we pray we give our love and joy and concern into the pool of love that swirls around us. Energy flows from within us to the world. Yes, it’s a mystery. I’m not sure how prayer works. I know only that scientific studies have proven that prayer brings health and comfort and strength for those prayed for, and for those praying. I don’t have to understand it. I need only remember to pray. In this pandemic, we need the mystery of prayer.
These are my thoughts this morning. Listen for the needs of others. Do what you can. Follow the protocols. PRAY. We are not helpless. Thanks be to God.