- The author suggests that, in the midst of change, the changes we can’t yet predict are “the hardest part.” How are you managing the challenge of not knowing? What have you learned – from the Bible, from your church, from spiritual elders – about responding to the unknown with faith?
- What good gifts of life have you rediscovered in recent days? What joys and beauties are you noticing with heightened appreciation?
- How do you respond to the author’s questions: “What if this changes everything?” as well as “What if it doesn’t?”
Everything Is Changing
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” - Matthew 6:34 (NRSV)
Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Jesus, you got that right. You know what the trouble is: a novel coronavirus that has an alarming fraction of the global population ill or dead, and the rest of us hurtling toward lockdown.
Are we allowed to worry now? Are we allowed to stock up on canned soup and toilet paper and ice cream? How exactly will God provide these things if we don’t take responsibility for getting them ourselves? Sometimes life provides us with a problem so big, so complex, it is undeniably a today-worry and a tomorrow-worry.
We are at the moment when we know everything is going to change, but we don’t yet know how—and that is the hardest part. We know people we love will be taken from us, but we don’t know who. We know it will threaten our retirement funds, our livelihoods and jobs, our mental health. We know that it will put some people who are already at the edge, economically and emotionally, over it.
We ask God the ultimate question, “What if it changes everything?”
And God answers, “What if it doesn’t?”
Because some things need changing.
Good things can be caught from this pandemic, as well as bad. Already, you are calling friends you haven’t talked to in ages or checking in with your mother every day. You are pulling out the watercolors, reading novels again, watching documentaries with your fur person, cuddling your kids.
The pandemic is revealing, once again, what really matters, and what the good gifts of life are that don’t arrive by two-day shipping. A particle one-900th thousand times the width of a single human hair has done what we were not able to do by ourselves: stop us in our tracks, personally and communally.
God didn’t send this disaster, but God will for damn sure use it.
God, this pandemic will change everything. May it be so. Amen.
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of First Congregational Church UCC in Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church, Standing Naked Before God, and her newest baby, Bless This Mess: A Modern Guide to Faith and Parenting in a Chaotic World.