I may not talk about God all the time, but I play one on TV - i mean at TBE. This was a particularly difficult week in the pandemic, with the exponential spread of the Omicron variant. Within our congregation, it has been sweeping through entire families. I've spoken to lots of congregants this week and very few have been untouched by this wildfire, in one way or another. It is out of control, and while the symptoms are usually mild, the hospitals are filling up. People are worried. Every cough has become a trigger of existential dread.
So it was a perfect week for me to be blessed with about 20 home testing kits, as part of the state's effort to get the tests to the right people, using religious leaders as their eyes and ears on the ground. I did not hesitate to accept the offer - even before figuring out how best to distribute the kits. My goal was to get them out quickly, because they were doing no good in my car, and to aim to get them into the hands of those most vulnerable. That could mean those who were from vulnerable demographics, those experiencing symptoms - or both. With the disease now so extraordinary contagious, I wanted to be ahead of the curve, so those with immunity or mobility issues were a high priority, even if they were not symptomatic.
Because I had a limited supply, I was forced to make some uncomfortable decisions and turn some people away. It was a humbling week for me; while these tests do not in themselves determine "who shall live and who shall die," the results could change the course of people's lives - especially since each of these people could potentially infect other people (with Omicron, each infected person infects on average at least a half dozen others). I also heard a lot about people's non-Covid related sadness, the loneliness, helplessness and frustration that we are all feeling right now.
I was relieved to give away the last of the kits and hope they are all put to good use. I hope that soon the kits will be easily available to all of us - and that none of us will need them. I've had enough of playing God for one week.
But I'm always up for a conversation about God. The poem below is a good place to begin. Is accessing God a struggle, as I claim.... or is it actually the easiest thing imaginable, as this poem claims? Or both?
The Worst Thing We Ever Did
The worst thing we ever did was put God in the sky, out of reach.
Pulling the Divinity from the leaf,
Sifting out the Holy from our bones,
Insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement through everything we’ve made
A hard commitment to see as ordinary
Stripping the sacred from everywhere to put in a cloud made elsewhere
Prying closeness from your heart.
The worst thing we ever did was take the dance and the song out of prayer.
Made it sit up straight and cross its legs,
Removing of it rejoicing,
Wiped clean its hip sway, its questions, its ecstatic yowl, its tears.
The worst thing we ever did is pretend God isn’t the easiest thing in this Universe.
Available to every soul in every breath.
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