I think any kid growing up is subjected to listening to tales from the past to which he or she feels no connection. For me, it was my mother’s reminder of the “Starving Armenians” any time there was a complaint about her cooking, and tales of the 1918 “Spanish Flu.” Out of nowhere, conversations would shift to the horrors of the 1918 epidemic. When she described churches being closed, and businesses closing, and not being able to find basics, like food, I just knew she was exaggerating. Nothing like that could ever really happen. The truth is that our kids and grand kids will be telling future generations about this pandemic. We are living our own lore – right now. History books will show pictures of US sitting in church in masks, and “Closed Due to Virus” signs on restaurant doors.
Recently I watched a very well done documentary on the history of epidemics and pandemics. The fact is that these things are just part of life on earth. And some of them are really nasty. I well remember the polio epidemic. It left children horribly disfigured, maimed, or dead. But the worst seemed to be “The Black Death”. It wiped out a huge portion of the world population with a gruesome death. And of course there was the Yellow Fever Epidemic that left Norfolk with a surviving population of only about 6,000.
Our present pandemic seems relatively gentle compared to some of those in the past. We’re not bleeding from our ears and turning black as we mysteriously die. We have the media and internet to help keep us informed, offer ways to stay connected, and allow us some hint of a normal life. In addition, we’re told that there are things we can do to help protect ourselves from infection, like masks and social distancing and staying home. History will have to tell us how effective our efforts are, but we’re not the victims of a hopeless and mysterious illness and death like our ancestors. So, although we fuss and grumble over inconveniences and things not being the way we want them, we’ve got it pretty good compared to generations before.
As I write this, we have a task force working on an application to the bishop to allow us to regather for public worship. The bishop has published her guidelines for approval, and now it’s our turn to determine what worship will be like at Epiphany, and submit it to the bishop for approval. Hopefully, some of our restrictions will be temporary. Our purpose is to try to begin regathering for worship in some form that is safe to our people and clergy. We do not want anyone getting sick because they came to worship at Epiphany. My prayer is that we care enough about each other to make our individual and corporate sacrifices and contributions to our life together as the worshiping community at Epiphany. We are writing our own history. Let’s make it one on which our future generations can look back with pride.
July 1, 2020
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