That we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
– Luke 1:74-75
By Chaplain Aaron Klink, PHH Rocky Mount
Durham County, where I live, is currently under a “stay at home order” from the Mayor. It began at 6pm last evening. The streets are quiet, except for the cars going to get groceries, and health care workers, some going to the large hospital in town, or to one of the many nursing home facilities, two of which are staffed by PruittHealth Partners. There had been hopes that COVID-19 would not spread in Durham County. But the number of cases is growing. There is, in times of fear, a lot of talk about miracles. We don’t know what makes God do this or that. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury now a professor at Cambridge, notes in his book Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian belief, the following:
“God is always at work, but that work is not always visible. God is always at work…We pray, we act in ways that have some chance of shaping a situation so that God can come more directly in. It isn’t a process we can manipulate; miracles aren’t magic, and we could never have a comprehensive manual of techniques for securing what we pray for. It would be very comforting if we knew the formulae for success, but we don’t. All that we know is that we are called to pray, to trust and to live with integrity before God (to live ‘holy’ lives) in such as way as to leave the door open, to let things come together so that love can come through.”
This is what we are called to do in this time of pandemic. We are called to act toward our patients and toward our fellow partners in ways that leave open the door to love, to service, to grace. We do so while not knowing what life will be like in the next weeks or months ahead. We only know that we can live lives centered in faith, in trust, and in love. We live lives in what Williams calls the “holy”. Having opened the door, we can trust that God’s spirit, and God’s grace, and God’s love will move through us, and around us, no matter what the future holds. When we make our trust in that love, greater than our fear, we will truly be able to serve our neighbor.