In recent days we have surpassed the 500,000 mark in our nation. That is over half a million people who have died from the novel Corona virus in the last year, for we have not even hit the anniversary of when the real shut downs in our country began. That is as many people as those who died in both world wars combined with our war in Vietnam. It is only 120,000 less than died in the Civil War. That number is beyond staggering.
And such a moment deserves a moment of pause to consider some things.
Maybe it is because I have lost four of my own family members in the same time frame, and granted from things unrelated to this virus, but I cannot let so many lives pass without acknowledging what we have lost. All of those lost were loved and did love. All of them were part of a family and a community. All of them had value. All of them mattered.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote that all life is inextricably intertwined, woven together in one single garment of destiny. He may have been speaking of racial injustice, nevertheless, the paradigm still resonates. The lives of those lost impact us. Far more importantly, the choices we make now impact every single life that still exists.
This weekend, the lectionary passage talks about taking up our cross, which means something far different than what most people think. The key thing in its meaning is this: taking up our cross is always about serving someone else. Christ’s cross was not for himself, but for the world. Our lives, for those of us who would follow him, are meant to be about service of others.
So, for all of us still living on this side of the grass, still breathing, behind a mask or not, we should consider this: it is our job to care about every life that is connected with our own. And that is every life.
Be kind. Be thoughtful. Do your part until this storm finally abates.