I had a conversation with one of my sons last Friday. Our granddaughter’s school was closed on Thursday when someone in their school community tested positive for COVID 19. Our son wasn’t concerned about the health of his immediate family. The girls are both healthy as are the parents. He said, “I’d really like to come and visit you, but I couldn’t live with myself if one of us infected you with the virus, and you ended up in the hospital on a respirator.” It was a wake-up call about being “elderly,” a member of the vulnerable groups. Go figure! I guess he did the math and realized that if he is 43, I am north of 60. It was also a wake-up call about the very real anxiety and fear that has spread like the virus around the globe. Unless you live under a rock, I imagine you’ve felt a heightened sense of anxiety and fear as well.
Caution is a good thing. It is why I look both ways before I cross a street. Caution can help us remember to wash our hands frequently for at least 20 second, to cover our faces when we cough or sneeze, and to refrain from shaking hands. Caution is a good thing. But fear can be deadly to our spirits and to our communities. Like the dementors in the Harry Potter novels, fear drains happiness – and hope – from humans, and it imprisons us in a personal Azkaban.
During the Last Supper, Jesus says these words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27.
I invite you to take a few minutes today to meditate on these words. Sit in a comfortable place, and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Imagine that you are sitting with Jesus. Talk with him about all your fears. He is a good listener, so take your time. Then, when you are ready, imagine him saying these words to you, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
You can practice a “breath” prayer throughout this day to carry your prayer time with you. It is as simple as breathing. Take a deep breath in as you let the word “peace” flow into your body. As you exhale, breath out a sense of “peace” to the world.
May God’s love spread through you today,