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What is Our Duty in the Face of the Pandemic?

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Contributed by Joyce Frohn

The Pandemic has Brought Face to Face with Things We Were Not Used To

It has been a year since the Pandemic hit the US. We have all missed birthdays and holidays. Many have lost loved ones and friends. We have stared at fear, loneliness, and pain. We have learned Zoom, begged for shots and tried to wrap our brains around a terror that we thought was dead. Children have started school on computers, teens have graduated from high school on video, a thousand milestones small and large have come and gone. Some of us have battled loneliness and others have had suddenly crowded houses. We have tried to work from home while trying to remember high school geometry or desperately tried to support a family with less pay. Maybe we missed a long-awaited family trip or a just a quiet walk through a museum. Or a funeral of those we loved.

We have had many emotions that we are not used to. We have anger that those we trusted have betrayed us; that strangers would rather brag about their rights than save other people. That we have been lied to. We have sorrow at levels our modern world is not used to. We had thought that there were not going to be any consequences, no penalties. We declared we had conquered nature. Hopefully we have learned a lesson.

What Lesson Must We Learn?

Now we have to try to deal with what that means for us, for our children and for our institutions. We people of faith now have a very difficult job ahead. We have to do what the faithful have been called to do for a long time. In the words of the old preachers saying, "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Unfortunately, most of us are both the afflicted and the comfortable. No one has escaped this year without pain, but we must remember that we in ESTHER are the comfortable. We are middle class; we have the electronics to stay connected with our friends and family. We are not worried about violence or eviction.

There is no way to end this tension. We must live with it. Sit with it. Deal with it. And through prayer and support, help others live with the tension. Sometime we can be a shoulder to cry on, sometimes a word of support. Sometimes we are also called to be a witness to truths people would prefer to hide. Sometimes we are called to be a gadfly, an agitator, (in the best sense of the word).

Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we need to make sure that we are building a better world. One where people's basic humanity can be affirmed, children don't go hungry, there is justice for all and people are more important than profit.

Because if we, as a society, can't handle dealing with this pandemic; remember global warming is getting worse and that will be a bigger challenge.

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