The world could look dramatically different after this crisis has come and gone, or it could remain tragically the same. We know this. It’s not our first pandemic. Already, God is calling the prophets to assemble, planting us all in the bone fields, breathing a word of hope into our lungs. Now it is time to speak.
And repentance is not synonymous with feeling bad about one’s self. It isn’t rehearsing a feeling of guilt. Repentance is turning to face the God who never wearies of forgiving us so that our minds can be renewed and our broken hearts can be healed.
Baptism is a vocation drenched in promises. In it we invite those who desire to live a Christian life to notice, name and resist all the forces in this world that rebel against the nature and character of God — to set themselves at odds with a world that privileges profit over people, that preaches scarcity in the midst of profligate abundance, that cultivates fear between people created to live in community. We ask them to do this knowing that it will cost them something, and that in some cases it may cost them everything. That’s right. In baptism we call one another to die, and to die over and over again, to patterns of life designed to support the individual at the expense of the community — except, in this case, we’re not balancing the needs of the one against the needs of the many, but the needs of the whole, the needs of all. A call to love not only our friends and our neighbors, but our enemies.