Hand in glove, COVID-19 sees most American hands in gloves. We are not quick to touch, are slow to pick up and there is no discussion of “reaching out to touch somebody’s hand.” No, we “make this world a better place” by staying home. Once unknown due to long commutes and ever- increasing work hours, we now know our homes like the back of our hands. But, if we are in the house for much longer, our children may see the back of our hands. For some children, this warning is much too late. I’m sorry, children.
And still, we wait for the on- time God, wondering if we got our schedules mixed up and if our heads are screwed on straight. Because God is never late. Are we really in the midst of a global pandemic? Is America becoming a valley of the shadow of death, a valley of dry bones, dead bodies that we have no room for? Is God not coming to stop these mass funerals and burials?
Morgues are full and Jesus’s tomb is empty. What do we make of this? He showed his wounds but body contagious, we can’t touch their faces or say goodbye to those who die of this virus. And I don’t know if we will ever be able to catch up on all the grief. We’ve loss so much already.
And Pentecost is coming; it is God’s fresh wind as we hear reports of thousands upon thousands taking their last breaths. We take deep breaths and try to keep our composure, certain of the Christian calendar but not of what comes next. More days inside, more time within, no longer able to avoid ourselves due to our capitalistically consumed and intentionally crowded lives. We cry out, “Jesus!”
Estimated incubation periods, models of the virus’s spread and the ever- increasing tally of the diseased and the dead, none of this makes sense. We scratch our heads. We can’t put our heads together, so we gather to put our hands together. Clasped and squeezed tight, we are so overwhelmed that our words don’t come out right. Some of us can’t even find the words so we moan and sigh, pace the floor and cry, shout and shake our fists at the sky.
“Do You hear me, God? What more do I have to say to You? Does this not warrant Your attention? Do You not see what is happening in Your world?”
This is the power of prayer; it is the ability to talk it out. Prayer is theology being worked out, where we say it and then scratch it out, where it all comes together for God to sort it out. But we must do our part. Not simply flinging words upward and hoping it all falls into place. No, sometimes, we are the answer to our own prayers. Prayer and gloves, like hand in glove, they go together. Amen.