Good morning church,
This past week John Hopkins University reported that the death toll of COVID-19 has surpassed 60,000 in less than two months' time, meaning more American lives have been lost to this virus than the Vietnam war. When I think of the Vietnam war I think of my Uncle who fought bravely but didn't do it because he wanted to. I think of the draft. I think of Creedence Clearwater Revival's anti-Vietnam song "Fortunate Son." This blog will be from the perspective of that song.
Fortunate Son calls out the injustice of the draft on who was drafted and who was not. If you were rich, or the child of someone important you did not get drafted. You were safe from the frontlines. The 58,000 that died in Vietnam were largely those in the blue-collar and service industry, those who were uneducated (not college-educated), and a disproportionately high number of people of color. When we consider the lives lost to COVID-19, many of us have been "fortunate sons" as well. Many of us work from home and have been able to limit our exposure. But not everyone is as fortunate. Many are at home out of work and are one of the 1 million surviving off unemployment right now. But for 60,000 Americans, many of which were nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, EMT - people that were in the prime of their life they succumbed to this virus. For that, we take a moment to mourn and to give thanks for their selfless sacrifices. Like my uncle in Vietnam, they fought bravely but didn't do it because they wanted to. The Bible says there is no greater love than to lay one's life down for their friends. To our friends that serve in these high-risk environments, we give you thanks with heavy hearts.
For the rest of us, it is a sobering reminder of how serious this thing is and how we must do better by them. The amount of times I catch myself not wearing a mask because I think they look silly is the only silly (and stupid) thing in those situations. Get a mask, stay inside (as much as you can), and listen to the CDC/WHO. If you are financially able during these uncertain times, consider giving to an organization that is helping those directly affected by the virus. A local group is called "Daves Quarantinis" (www.davesqtinis.com) they make really tasty martinis and deliver them to your door while 100% of the proceeds go to support local frontliners. So far they have donated over 100 face masks to the Woodmere police station, dropped off lunch for all the doctors and nurses on staff at University Hospital, and d dropped off 6 carafes of coffee from local roastery Tame Rabbit to the overnight shift at the Ahuja Medical Center. (Disclaimer: The United Methodist Church does not endorse the consumption of alcohol and I, Nick, do not recommend this service to anyone that struggles with an addiction to alcohol or other related substances but do strongly endorse the work that they are doing and have personally used this service)
This upcoming Sunday we are continuing our series "Unafraid" as we consider faith ways to counter our fears and live in hope. This week we will be looking at the fear of failure and the fear of being alone. In light of that I can't help but think of the doctors and nurses who sit by patients bedside and keep them company in fearful solidarity. I think of the care takers that have become family for the elderly who cannot have their family with them right now. I think of the caretakers that can't see their own families because of their workplace. I imagine many of you are feeling a heavy heart over not seeing dear friends, parents, or other loved ones that might be in some type of living facility or hospital. My heart goes with you in this moment and if you are feeling lonely. Let either Joyce or I know, we would be happy to call you and talk as long as you need. But I also lift up prayers of grace to public officials and the doctors researching this disease. I can't imagine the kind of pressure one feels to "not fail" in leading the country, the church, a local community, or managing a business during this time. If you are one of these people, give yourself some grace. I hope you will tune into the message this week and share it with someone that might be feeling either alone or having great pressures on them.
In closing, I think of the saints, both those above who have perished to COVID-19 and to the saints that work tirelessly to bring an end to this madness and lead us through this wilderness experience. I share the words of the great hymn "Rejoice in God's Saints" to celebrate these people.
"Rejoice in those saints, unpraised, and unknown,
who bear someone's cross or shoulder their own.
They shame our complaining, our comforts, our cares:
what patience in caring, what courage, is theirs!"
Nicholas W. Gliha
Associate Pastor of Discipleship
firstname.lastname@example.org // 440-247-5848 ext 102
Tune into our current series at www.chagrinfallsumc.org/unafraid
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