20 Apr Faith Celebrations in Times of COVID-19
Everything is odd.
There’s other words than that, and there are more words than that, but that is the one I’ve landed on today. It’s also awful, and confusing, and exhausting, and frightening… And yet, of course there’s been moments of loveliness and joy, moments that remind us that humans are usually good and we can survive a lot of things if we put others first and work through problems with a plan.
But it’s all still odd.
For me, one of the oddest bits was the process of going through the Lenten season in isolation. I’m a Christian and have been for all of my life and I rhythm my life around the church calendar and this was the first time in about fifteen years that I didn’t wash someone else’s feet on Maundy Thursday. It was strange to celebrate the victory of life over death while I’m still getting body counts texted to my phone. I don’t know where hope is a lot right now – and while I know that this year, love looked like empty pews and simulcast sermons from kitchen tables, it all felt…
I’m not the only person of faith who feels this way – that maybe we missed out on something significant. My Jewish friends talked about virtual Seders and I know many of my Muslim friends are preparing for Ramadan and these are communal observations made singular this year. They are celebrations of life and reminders of our place in the universe, and times to come together and remember who we are. How odd it is, then, to sit on a sofa, or work double shifts in a grocery store, or shift your fashion business to one that makes masks, or to homeschool your children while running your non-profit, in order to remember who we are. That no one lives in isolation, that all actions have consequences, and that often the worst enemies are the ones we can’t see.
This pandemic has and will continue to disproportionately affect people in a myriad of ways. The inability to participate in communal faith celebrations is one and we’ll be spending the next several weeks looking at small things to keep in mind as you create your current and future organizational culture. People’s life rhythms are all out of whack and that includes their religious ones as well.