St. James Episcopal Church
Yes we do live in interesting times. At congregational, ministerial and denominational gatherings lately the talk is focused on this very scary business of H1N1 that besets us. How do we best protect ourselves in our church settings.should we touch one another when we share the peace? Should we alter our practices for communion to minimize the possible spread of flu germs? Should we even have church? Like leaders in many other areas we read the data from the CDC and the Department of Health, we listen to experts and take their advice very seriously. This influenza outbreak, from all we see and hear is nothing to be trifled with, and it is good that we are taking all necessary and reasonable precautions to keep ourselves and our communities as safe as possible.
It is also important in these stressful times that we remember that God is God and we are not (thank God), as a very wise friend of mine used to say, and at the end of the day, when we have done all we canmade our wisest decisions based on expert opinions, washed our hands, coughed into our sleeves and used our hand sanitizers, we need to do our best to release some of our anxiety In this, as in all things, the God who calls us beloved will be with us, will carry us through, will not abandon us. As the prophet Jeremiah assured us with Yahweh's words so long ago: "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me." (Jer. 29:11-13)
There are dangers in forgetting that we are not running the universe. The first of course is that our anxiety can very easily overtake us. And on the other side we can be overcome by guilt if things do go wrong and "something bad happens" that somehow we failed to do enough. H1N1, like other difficulties, tragedies and disasters, do happen in the natural course of human life. Because of the gift of free will, God does not create or prevent them. But the God who loved us enough to become us surely will hold us through them, no matter what comes. Let us all remember to be caring and careful in these stressful times and to hold one another in prayer.