What Are We to Give to the World?

We live in a time of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic. The world as we have known it has stopped.

In 1987, the rock band R.E.M. released the hit song, It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). The band’s lead singer Michael Stipe, recently commented on the song’s streaming popularity since the arrival of the coronavirus commented, “The important part of that lyric, of the song’s title is ‘as we know it.’”

It’s true. Each day begins and each day ends. When day is done, it’s ‘the end of the world… as we know it.” And we feel fine.

My point is not to minimize. Life is hard. Life can be so unfair. Terrible things happen to good people. The world is always changing. We carry on. And that’s good.

Too often, our tendency is to remain stuck in a past that is no more or to fill our lives with busy activities, convinced that we “have so much to accomplish” in preparing for the future.

Being stopped by the pandemic has forced all of us to “do different.” I am grateful that the majority of people are minding the directions of professionals, honoring their warnings and implementing safety and health practices.

Being “stopped” means the possibility of truly finding the “present.” “Be still and know that I am God,” we are told in Psalm 46. We are invited to be still before God, before Creation, before All that is. Being human often means just “being” and not “doing” anything. In moments of wonder and silence, it’s enough to simply enjoy… Presence.

It’s Earth Day and we are once again reminded to honor and celebrate Creation, to love our Mother. She is holding each and all of us in this time of human fragility. The beauty and splendor of each day speaks more profoundly than any political or medical “update.” The Earth, the stars, the galaxies, the multiverses–therein lies our strength and our hope. With power and confidence, Creation witnesses the ultimate commitment to life and its process of evolutionary growth.

Perhaps this time of feeling separated will reveal to us an awareness of our absolute connectedness. At last, we might disengage from the chains and anchors that have kept us moored and land-locked. This may well begin a new understanding of freedom. A realization that “human nature” is a selfish assertion. In truth, “Nature” is primary and we homo sapiens are a part of a magnificent Cosmos filled with amazing and beautiful diversity.

We are not the world. Our ideas about our importance, our beliefs about anything may end. But that does not mean the world will end.

And I feel fine.

The Beginning and the End

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