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COVID-19 and Star Wars

At the risk of sounding trite, I’ve been thinking today of the Star Wars saga (It WAS May the 4th earlier this week, right?) in relationship to the pandemic and efforts to grapple with it, limit its deadly impact, wipe it out, and return to sanity and the good life. I think of long, dark phases of the epic Star Wars episodes that I’ve been viewing since I was 18 years old. We know this story. The Empire/dark side repeatedly asserts deadly, overwhelming, seemingly irresistible grips. Rebel leaders are frequently deeply conflicted and divided about how best to address the Empire (even the wise Jedi counsel gets deceived).

There were no guarantees for a way out—neither are there now. Just grit and guts and loss and grief and intelligence and ingenuity and perseverance and hope and love and the force. And always, of course, the refusal to let anger and fear control.
We are in for a long haul with many twists and turns. Hang on, it’s likely to get worse. This appears to a primal, global test …
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An Easter Prayer

by Wilfred L. Winget

O Mighty, Holy Breath of God
On this glorious Day of Resurrection

Blow open all the shutters of our minds
bursting the barriers of
prejudice and pride
insensitivity and sloth
ignorance and fear
stretching wide our vision of
what you are doing
where you are working
in our fascinating
exasperating world.

Blow wide the doors of our hearts
impelling us outward to
the lonely and loveless
the angry and hopeless
the empty and faithless
as ready instruments
of your Grace.

Blow up our lungs to keep us shouting
Yes to Faith in the face of fear
Yes to Hope in defiance of despair
Yes to Love in spite of apathy
Yes to Life in the teeth of death

Through Christ, the Living One,
Our Lord.
Amen


This poem/prayer was given me by Morris Weigelt, Ph.D., who taught New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Wil Winget was his brother-in-law. Wil taught at Spring Arbor University and died a painful death after a long bout with cancer. This poem was written amid that portion of his …

Silent Saturday

Maybe the best thing we could do on this in-between day is just be silent
I don’t know what to do with the Saturday before Easter. Not even sure what to call it. Holy Saturday? Dark Saturday? Or, should I take a more post-resurrection approach: Joyous Saturday or Saturday of the Light (as the Copts)?
How about Silent Saturday?
It’s this odd day between Good Friday and Easter. We tend to put all our eggs in those two baskets,
engaging in somber services on Good Friday and
jubilant--even braggadocios--outbursts on Easter. But this day? We’ve got nothing.
Maybe that’s how it should be. Completely wrung out and undone by Friday’s
procession of confusion, denial, pain and death,
and with no realistic hope of anything beyond,
Jesus’ followers scattered--speechless, witless, utterly alone.
The more silent this day, the better. What do deniers and deserters have to say, anyway? People who’ve mistaken his ministry--be quiet. Those who think hope is based on coercion and might
in Jesus’ name were dead wrong-- and stil…

Washing Feet

"AS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU"

Off and on over the years, I have participated in the Maundy Thursday liturgy at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge, Colorado (we're there to ski and snowboard during Spring Break--nothing spiritual about it.)

Typically, the little church is half full and it is likely a quarter of us are out-of-towners. No matter.

Not used to the turnings, responses and readings of formal liturgy from The Common Book of Prayer, I fumble my way through the service.

The part to which I feel particularly connected is the foot washing. The liturgy invites us to do for another what Jesus did for his disciples that night of their last meal together. After the pastoral team's example, we are invited to wash each other's feet at the front of the sanctuary.

During the foot washing, the congregation sings:
Brother, sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I might have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgri…

Panic Attack re COVID-19

Full disclosure: this pandemic gets to me. It has taken a physiological toll on me.

I watched it develop in China via Twitter in January and February. I went down numerous wormholes and my eyes cannot unsee what I saw. Citizen journalist accounts (now silenced by the Chinese Communist Party) revealed horrors and heroics. But it seemed distant and we in North America were safe. I wrote and spoke of the contagion and our urgent challenge of prevention then—to no avail.

So, the virus is now spreading globally—it is in our city and our neighborhoods. It will take the lives of people we know—perhaps our own. We just don’t know with this thing. It’s not just a threat to older and physically compromised neighbors.

Thus, the fodder for my panic attack earlier this week. It was terrifying. I’m grateful for some friends and temporary meds to get me through and over.

Daily, I challenge myself with basic self-care practices, which absolutely include serving and supporting others—some of whom are…

Ten Commandments for the Pandemic

Ten Commandments for the Pandemic
1. Stay out of the way. Stay put. Maintain social distance. 
2. End or reduce unnecessary visits to the grocery, etc.
3. Lower all consumption. Conserve.
4. Exercise your capacity to encourage and connect with others distantly.
5. Demand government agencies and officials step up.
6. Support frontline workers.
7. Call out exploitative and negligent corporations and companies small and large.
8. Check in on your neighbors via phone, text, email.
9. Take a walk/bike ride outside. Steer clear of close encounters. 10. Wash or sanitize your hands before and after every contact. Be meticulous.

Self-Care Bingo and other Coping Strategies Amid COVID-19

Not sure who to credit for this graphic called “Self-Care Bingo, but I like it.

It is one of numerous little things that help me in this time when my initial thoughts of the day have sometimes been “I wonder if today is the day I will contract this lethal virus despite my personal efforts of prevention?”

Weird thoughts. High anxiety. Disequilibrium. New high levels of cynicism regarding our government so-called “leaders.”

Then I see “Self-Care Bingo.” And stories of frontline workers. And efforts to support hourly-wage workers who have been furloughed. And investment in local artists. And under-the-radar actions by neighbors to care for vulnerable neighbors. And online concerts by musicians whose venues have been cancelled. On it goes with inspired and inspiring human capacity and creativity in the face of a global pandemic.

Believe in yourself. Believe in the good in others. Recognize and shun the capriciousness of some. Stay active. Stay put. Stay safe. Act compassionately while re…