As the current global health and economic crises continue to affect much of humanity, there has been good news – prophetic signs, perhaps, of God’s ability to nurture hope and new life in the midst of death and suffering. Here in Canada, the air quality over our urban centres has seen a marked improvement. In India, some reported being able to see the Himalayas for the first time in their lives. The clearer water in the canals of Venice has been a particular focus of attention as swans have made a surprising and delightful return. Dolphins have appeared in some of Italy’s waterways. How quickly the earth starts to heal herself when given the chance.
We see a new appreciation for health care workers, people that many of us have taken for granted. We have seen the importance of grocery store clerks, sanitation workers, personal support workers who care for the elderly and others who have been critical to our survival during this pandemic.
One can only assume that once the lockdowns begin to ease and we “return to normal”, these changes will not last. Unless, that is, we are ready to consider what our new “normal” will be. Will the positive signs we are seeing be a catalyst for changing our relationship with our environment? The Canadian Book of Alternative Services Baptismal Covenant includes a promise “to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation” – perhaps the current situation is inspiring Canadian Anglicans to find new ways to live out their Baptismal Covenant with respect to this promise. Will these changes have an impact on our valuation of the workers who provide so much essential labour yet are paid so little? We have seen the importance of grocery store clerks, sanitation workers, personal support workers who care for the elderly and others who have been critical to our survival during this pandemic. As governments hastily construct support packages to ensure that those most in need can survive, there are more discussions about policies like a guaranteed basic income for everyone.
At this time in the pandemic we long to return to normal human contact, to return to our workplaces in order to support ourselves and our families. At the same time, this crisis has forced us to recognize that there are aspects of our communal life that cry out for change, change that will bring us closer to the Kingdom of God, where there is enough for all; change that will ensure the proper stewardship of the precious gift of this Earth. Friends, we do not walk alone during this time of fear and uncertainty. We proclaim a God who loved us so much that He walked among us, taught us a better way, and died for us. The resurrected Christ is with us still, promising redemption and empowering us to meet whatever lies ahead. Grace and Peace be with you.