Love the Holy One wholeheartedly, soulfully, strongly, mindfully;Luke 10:27
and your neighbor as dearly as yourself.
How do you weigh the cost of living with the price of loving?
with the stark reflection of a cracked mirror,
our shared visage, in fragmented distortion.
‘O look, look in the mirrorW. H. Auden
‘O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.
As we succumb to the grave demands
and debilitations of protracted isolation,
we weigh the consequences of activities with inaction.
A dangerous calculus, dangled before us,
presents the gruesome false equivalence
between wealth and worth; profit and people.
The vacuum of moral leadership,
abandons us to less-caring calculations
about whom and how many must die for the freedom to sell and buy.
But there is another approach
that invites nations and neighbors to safeguard vulnerability
by sharing from the commons of human and material resource.
‘O stand, stand at the windowW.H. Auden
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.
Trying times test our humanity as well as our faith.
While we ponder where and when it all might end,
it helps to keep our eyes fixed
on the ubiquitous wounded One;
catalyst of contradiction,
who is both masked and intubated; healer and helped.
This Christ who abides within and in between,
spans the chasm between market and ministry
with compassionate self-giving.
Christ the protester,
wielding a sign.
Christ the policeman, standing in line.
Christ we’ve forgotten.
Christ you are blessed, and how you are broken!
Christ of compassion,
peacemaker, cheek-turner, merciful river.
Christ so close,Excerpted from Still In the Storm by Joe Grant
Christ so dear,
how dare we not see you, when you are so near?
Thus, the fierce love of Maker is expressed
as passionate concern
for the most maligned and mistreated; without exception.
For only the compass of compassion
can reorient us
and chart a course to fuller, wider living.
Discounting, distracting and misdirecting,
either in piety or politics,
devalues dignity in search of justification.
Seeking to be justified by Jesus, the lawyer asked,Luke 10:29
‘And who is my neighbor?’
Since crisis also presents opportunity, always we must ask:
What is the cost of loving? Who benefits?
Who ends up paying the price for so much suffering?
And carefully we listen
for courageous, radical inclusion,
as we steer clear of amoral profiteering and prophet-less preaching.
The real tragedy would be if we come through the pandemic without changing for the better.Ben Okri
It would be as if all those deaths, all that suffering … would mean nothing.
Beyond social analysis and moral paralysis,
may we surrender to the humble power of kenosis—
self-outpouring that restores “benefit” from a privilege to making good.
Especially in dark times, even behind closed doors,
we do not scheme
about going back-wards.
We kindle flickering hope
and dream a softer, slower, simpler, gentler,
more generous world into being.