Pastoral Reflection by Rev. Kelly Jane Caesar
March 29, 2020
Read: John 11:1-6
Jesus stayed where he was for two days.
The best thing, at that time, was to stay put.
Eventually Jesus would go and be with Lazarus,
he stayed home.
Mary and Martha would be upset, they wanted Jesus there now.
They not only wanted the Messiah, they wanted their dear friend in this time of sorrow.
But Jesus knows well that there is a time to go and a time to stay.
Many of us are feeling the difficulty of staying put.
We want to help. We want to do. We want to go. Anywhere.
Yet, the most helpful action we can do is to stay home.
Some among us must go – Maggie is caring for the children of healthcare workers, Chris is making sure trucks have tires and can deliver food and medical supplies, Jess and Sara are nurses tending to the sick, David is serving as an EMT, Tyler is working for the Manchester Fire Department.
The most loving thing we can do for those among us on the front lines is to hold back and stay home.
This is not an easy way to love. This is a congregation that wants to step in and serve, to lend a hand, to help in any way possible. The way to help at this time is to stay put.
Every time you go out you could catch the virus yourself or unknowingly pass it on to another.
Every trip out increases the risk of disease and death for yourself, your neighbor, and the most vulnerable among us.
So, go out once a week for food, otherwise remain home.
Staying put is a new and challenging spiritual practice for many of us accustomed to doing and going.
It requires settling into the presence of God, grounding into the core of our beings.
In the words of the psalm 46, it is a time,
“To be still and know that I am God.”
It is a time to hear the voice of God as Elijah did –
not in the loud earthquake or thunder, but in the silence.
Not in the crowds or chorus, but in the small, intimate space of family or self.
It is a time to release our egos and forgo pride,
In humble service for the greater good,
and the most vulnerable among us.
As Christians we are clearly called to love our neighbor, especially the most vulnerable.
You don’t need me to list all the scriptures and parables of Jesus that point us to this core value.
Staying put is the most loving action most of us can do right now.
Whether or not you are high-risk, this virus has severely harmed and killed many people –
So stay home if you have the privilege and opportunity to do so.
Each of you is loved by many and no one wants you to get ill.
Staying home not only shows love for ourselves,
but it is an act of love for our vulnerable neighbors.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you can be a carrier –
So every time you go out and interact with others, you could be transmitting the virus.
Staying home could be literally saving the lives of our neighbors.
Staying home is also a way to be in solidarity with those who must be at home.
No one likes to be “left out” of the party.
For those of us not providing food or medical care, staying home is the most loving action we can do.
Staying put requires us to forgo the glory and praise often showered on do-good-ers.
Often when we do good and help others we receive the joy of seeing them smile and hearing their praise.
At this time we are called to do good, without the laud and glory.
To do good and stay put at this time requires the spiritual practice of humility.
Our individual good deed of staying home will largely go unnoticed;
for it is only in the collective “staying home” that we will see the blessings of less deaths.
Jesus commands his disciples to not make a show of their spiritual practices –
In the New Living Translation of Matthew 6:16:
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”
At this time we are called to the humble service of staying home as much as possible.
Let us do so in order for the miracle of healing to happen.
For indeed, Jesus, after the time of staying put, was able to work a miracle.