Rector's Reflections: Embodying Hope and Truth
Beloved People of St. Martin's,
It has just been announced that St. Louis City and County are reinstating mask mandates for those over the age of 5, even for vaccinated people, starting Monday.
This is a necessary step. Today, it was announced that Missouri registered nearly 2900 new cases in one day, bringing our weekly average to where is was in late January. Hospitalizations in the state have climbed back up to over 1600 cases a day. The three worst states for COVID19 infections right now are Texas, Florida--- and Missouri.
It didn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to continue to be this way.
For those of us who have borne so many burdens during these last nearly 18 months, it may feel like being plunged back into dark times indeed.
It is fortunate that yesterday was the Feast day of Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles. The gospel for yesterday was from John 20:11-18, which tells the story of Mary going to Jesus's tomb on the Day of Resurrection, only to find his body gone.
I imagine always how she felt to see that empty tomb. She had just been through watching Jesus's arrest and crucifixion, and now she arrives to this further heartbreaking scene. And with this latest surge we can all relate to that feeling of being thrust back in the dark.
Yet it is in the darkness that Jesus spoke tenderly to Mary Magdalene, and that he speaks most tenderly to us.
It is while it is still dark, while we are afraid and isolated, that Jesus calls us to embrace resurrection and tell out the good news. We need that light and hope now, more than ever.
In turning toward reconciliation and resurrection, we called to shake off who we have been, and turn instead to embrace and embody who we are called to be. It’s not enough for us to see the glory of resurrection and what promises it holds for ourselves. We are called to witness to that resurrection and how it continues to work in a world that desperately needs to see it and be transformed, too.
Mary Magdalene immediately ran to tell the male apostles what she had seen and experienced, making her the Apostle to the Apostles, of the Resurrection. She also encountered skepticism, but did not let that dissuade her. We can be like her and persevere in trying to embody concern for others and encouragement in the face of this latest crisis, rather than fatalism. We can embody hope by caring for each other, as Jesus repeatedly urged us. We can embody truth and integrity in a world in which there is far too much misinformation and division.
While it is still dark, Jesus calls us to turn toward his reconciling, abundant love, and take heart. Even in the darkest, we are called to testify boldly like Mary Magdalene that Christ is risen and present-- even right now.
So take heart, beloveds. Stay safe, and encourage all of those you love to be vaccinated while being tenderly solicitous of the fact that our children under 13 do not have that option. Wear a mask as a testimony to your faith and to the love we are called to embody as Christians, especially for the vulnerable. And join me in prayer for all of those affected by this disease, both patients and their families and those who care for them.
Believe in the power of wisdom and love to call us to work together. Believe in resurrection.