Pastoral Letter to the Pacific Mountain Regional Council
Who would have imagined even a few months ago that we would be in this situation? No in-person meetings or gatherings, no hugging, restaurants closed, self-isolation, mad dashes for groceries, line-ups at the drug store, hospitals awaiting an onslaught of sick people and our physical separation from loved ones.
And who would have imagined the extraordinary expressions of generosity and creativity!? Windows covered with the breathtaking artworks of children, neighbours leaving gifts of groceries and notes at their neighbours’ doors and they may not even know their neighbours well! Phone calls just to check in, thousands of people at the same time everyday standing on city balconies clapping in gratitude for our first responders and medical personnel. Communities of Faith kindly reaching across boundaries to support one another with resources. Oh yes, and meeting after meeting after meeting via video-conference.
I confess that I am not spending my days asking why God has allowed this crisis to happen. I am surprised that my head and heart are filled with tired thoughts about those who are exercising what seems to me to be reckless behaviour. I am not proud of this but I am asking myself, how is it that there can be people showing disregard for their neighbours while so many others are being kind, respectful, responsible and generous toward their neighbours? My question is not about the nature of God but rather the nature of humans.
My challenge today is not just about how to show love for those in need but also how to love those who appear to me to be so thoughtless that they may actually be doing harm to others.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as Christ has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.”
I know that I am anything but perfect and I have no right to judge others. I look in the mirror every day now and remind myself to be extra careful to not do harm in action and in thought.
Clothing one’s self in compassion today is about putting my neighbour’s well-being first. Clothing one’s self in compassion is a very practical call to STAY HOME (unless you are an essential service or have no choice). We can do it. The well-being of all our neighbours depends on it. And yes, I will try to be more forgiving too.
The peace of Christ is with us all!
The Rev. Jay Olson, President