06/21/2020 Pulling Weeds – by Pastor Katie

At our Church Council meeting this week, our Stewardship liaison said that we’ve been worshipping online for 14 – FOURTEEN – weeks now. I was genuinely shocked by that count. I admit, I went back and counted…it really has been fourteen (14!) weeks.

I’m surprised, partly because it seems like it can’t possible have been that long – fourteen weeks already?! 

…and partly because it feels like it has been years – only fourteen weeks?!

In seminary, I was honored to be a Fellow with the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), in which we examined the role of the professions in the Holocaust and the deep need, and responsibility, for ethical leadership today. FASPE has continued to support my work in ethics and ethical considerations since that program, and since the pandemic took center stage they have offered several webinars 

On one such webinar called, “The Ethics of Reopening,” one of the panelists was Nancy Berlinger, Research Scholar at The Hastings Center, (she’s also has her PhD and Masters of Divinity). 

“We’re psychologically ‘over’ COVID 19, but the pandemic is still raging,” Berlinger said. 

My jaw dropped, this is exactly how I’m feeling and also what I’m seeing as I look around at my communities. So many people are just ‘done’ with COVID 19. In part, because we can’t sustain the stress or mental capacity to continue to think about it. In part, because we are ready for ‘normal.’ 

This week, Faith Lutheran began the work of putting together a Pandemic Preparedness Team, a required step towards ‘reopening’ (that word choice is vogue right now, but I disagree with it, see my blog post “The Truth about the Church”). 

Covid-19 has disrupted our normal, events have been postponed, and rescheduling is still up in the air. It is hard to plan, because it is hard to know what next developments will be. 

We’re in the nebulous—unclear, indefinite, uncertain—time of the coronavirus. 

Then, add into the mix the coming to light of ongoing inequalities between people and the corresponding civil unrest.  The virus has revealed the disparity in healthcare and healthcare access. We’re seeing the economic and opportunity disparities. We’re hearing hard truths and experiences from our siblings of color. 

We’re realizing that the whole system is broken, and, honestly, it feels overwhelming to conceive how to fix and rebuild it all. 

The work we’re undertaking is not going to be ‘quick fixes’ or easily solved with Band-Aids. It will be a paradigm shift that helps us all be more fully human, and see one another, truly, as equals. 

I know this necessary work and paradigm shift will not be complete in my lifetime, but I hope and pray that if we work together, our country will be a better place for my three year old when he reaches adulthood, and then, eventually, his children, and their children. 

We owe it to future generations to do the work to leave the world a better place than we inherited it. 

It is daunting though, because this, too, is nebulous. It’s not clear how long this work will take. 

More nebulous, indefinite, unclear time in front of us. 

This spring, I’ve found the need to have concrete tasks that I can do and be done with, because there are too many nebulous things that who knows when we’ll finish. 

Doing the dishes. Organizing my email inbox. Pulling weeds. 

Yes, I’ve taken up gardening. I’m more invested in our gardens than ever before. 

Weeding is my new-found favorite pastime. Not because I particularly like it, but mostly, because once you do it, then it’s done—for the week, at least. You can visibly see the outcome of your work. 

Our three year old also loves “digging in the dirt” as he says, it reminds me that sometimes we need to get out of our own heads, get away from the 24 hour news cycle, and touch the concrete world around us. 

I’m also realizing that weeding isn’t enough. Sure, the gardens look nicer without the weeds, but it isn’t enough. 

I have to plant the good things I want, not just take out the weeds I don’t want. 

Then, I have to tend to and water the good things the green plants and nice flowers, otherwise the weeds will take over again. 

Go out into the world in peace; have courage; 

hold onto what is good; return no one evil for evil; 

strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak,

and help the suffering; honor all people; 

love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Katie

Leave a Reply