One of the quite common refrains that I’m hearing from members, colleagues, citizens, and the media in general is just how much pressure individuals are feeling these days. From the ramped up demands of a new school year to the disciplines of a COVID-19 era to the financial barriers many are experiencing and, simply, the frequent need for so many to choose between vital necessities when they can’t afford both, one can certainly appreciate that we find ourselves in a trying time.
I’ve certainly felt some of that stress myself. Still, I can hardly say that my own nerves have quite the cause to be so rattled as those around me, working and serving in public places much more than I currently do. Nor have I had to juggle the growing responsibilities that many of you face daily.
So it’s amid that backdrop that I’ve been mindful of the responsibility we have to walk beside one another, listen carefully, and take the time to invest in and feel one another’s reality. At the same time, I’ve been relieved and thankful for the perspective gleaned from stories of courage and hope that have also filtered into my newsfeed or consciousness.
I am hopeful this morning, for instance, for the news that Pfizer is now ready to submit its COVID vaccine for approval for use in younger children and that another (though admittedly difficult) vaccine has now been developed to combat the scourge of malaria that impacts millions of lives each year. I’m encouraged by the examples of teachers exhibiting deep care for their students long past the hours they have left their classrooms, even though their burden is already heavy. I’m moved by the stories of families who have prioritized time to serve their community together with no less commitment than they have made to their child’s sports team and by that of Saleema Rehman, a 29-year-old Afghan refugee gynecologist serving displaced Afghan women in Pakistan and the first woman from her community to become a physician, despite the significant obstacles for displaced women to do so.
There are ample signs of resurrection around us when we take the opportunity to notice. As with so many things “Lutheran,” our calling seems to be another incidence of “and” (as in “saint and sinner," "law and gospel" e.g.). We are moved once again both to feel the weight of our neighbors’ reality and to point to the hope that lies beyond.
Let’s commit ourselves to both aspects as we seek to live out “God Work/Our Hands” this week.
Sharing the call,