Pandemic Crossroad

Jerimiah 6:16
Stand at the crossroad, and look, and ask for the ancient path, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
Jean Nevills

I am at a crossroad, precariously poised between what was and what if. With media-bleared eyes I try to see a good way forward. I feel the tension of the in-between, between what was before the COVID-19 response required sheltering in our homes, to what is, the uneasiness in this liminal space of unknowing and uncertainty. We can only speculate on what will be when/if it really is safe enough to come out of our various phases of quarantine.

The approach to this crossroad is fraught with complications. While the COVID-19 epidemic is still presenting new cases, systemic racism, also a death dealing disease, has again spiked in a fever pitch of active angry protest. And as we stumble into this intersection, we have yet to halt either contagion in the world today.

Millions now are pausing at this crossroad and with some intention and discomfort looking—all around, and beneath, behind and ahead—and perhaps we’re just beginning to see. I do NOT want for us to resume an unwoke complacency, complicit in the disregard of the earth and the not-so-well-being for all who dwell therein. I pray for wisdom, for a collaborative and cooperative justice, for a vision that guides our endeavors and efforts toward Shalom.

The local and global conversations that explore the ancient paths as well as the wisdom of honest science, are asking where the good way lies. And that inspires my hope.

But I know the next lines from the prophet’s poem. In spite of Jeremiah’s enticement of “rest for your souls” and his championing the ancient path, his people responded by saying, “we will not walk in it.” To their sentinel trumpeting the alarm, they told Jeremiah, “we will not give heed.” v.16b-17.

The ancient stubbornness and arrogance of Jeremiah’s time is still alive and roaming the planet. I pray with some urgency that humility will overtake hubris.

Personally—because I think it must come down to persons—I wonder about my part at this crossroad. How am I to participate in bringing about a new earth that reflects what is amply displayed in the heavens? There is in me a despairing doubt that however faithfully I proceed, I cannot turn the current of culture toward a channel that will flow into Love’s ocean.

“What is that to you?” asks the Whisperer within, “you follow me.”

This morning I wake to the crossroad of a New Day, between yesterday and now; I am listening. I look, seek, and knock. However haltingly, I will continue to persevere along the ancient path and renew my intention to walk in it. Whether or not I find rest for my soul, I pray its Peace finds me. And you.