By Fr. Gerry Sevick
We read, hear, and probably say it ourselves: “We are in a crisis.” The crisis we face has many facets. I read of all the critical events in our world right now: COVID-19, racism, protests, rioting, isolation, economics, essential workers, ER capacity, medical costs, and more.
The word “crisis” comes from the Greek word “krisis” which means “decision, event, and turning-point.” That tells me that when this word was used it did not just point to a danger or a weakness. It was used to speak to a cognitive moment of making a choice. What if we were to truly embrace that sense of the word at this point in our life together?
On multiple fronts we are confronted with critical moments or critical events. We hear the word “crisis” and we think danger, and it’s true there is danger from the list above but knowing the origin of the word “crisis” can show that there is more to this moment than avoiding danger. It is about choice.
We are at a moment of decision making. What kind of Christian, what kind of citizen, what type of human being will I be?
Will I choose to better understand those who live in isolation? Isolation, not just now because of this virus, but because there are those who do so all year round. Every Sunday we pray for those who are alone and have no one to pray for them. Will I continue to be aware of the mental and social cost of isolation long after we have found a cure for COVID-19? This is a time of decision concerning how we, the church, care for the lost, the lonely, and the invisible.
Will I make new decisions concerning my awareness and understanding of racism? Will I seek out people of color and listen? Will I be silent and separated or will I listen to those who live this every day? We promise in our baptismal vows to “seek and serve Christ in all persons,” and “to respect the dignity of every human being.” How will I choose to keep these vows?
Will I choose to understand that violence is sown into our culture? Will I embrace the teaching of Jesus and seek to be a visible and audible peacemaker? I know God created all things good and holy. Will I seek to nurture the good, holy, and peaceable Kingdom in the world we live in? We promise to “seek justice and peace among all people.” How will I keep this vow?
Will I choose to learn how the economy does and does not work for all people? How do I care for those who have to choose between food and child care, housing and medical care? How, as a child of God, am I responsible for others?
Will I choose to recognize when I put politics and political party over the teachings of Jesus? Will I recognize when I let politics change my theology rather than let theology change my politics? If I am a citizen of God’s kingdom, how do I live out that citizenship?
Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would come to us and teach us truths. What truth is the Spirit seeking to teach
I believe that we are responsible to and for each other. Paul tells us that if one suffers, we all suffer. This is a truth I must choose to relearn. This is also something the church must relearn with each generation.
We, the church, have a decision to make, as the word “crisis” communicates. What decision will we make as we face these realities?