I couldn’t stand it anymore. Not seeming him was killing me. So, I hopped in my car Tuesday morning and made a run for it. The pandemic has robbed us of many things, so the minute a window of opportunity opened, I jumped through it.
I’m writing you from North Carolina, where I revel in being Grandma to Theo, and helping my daughter and son-in-law for a few days. I took all necessary precautions as I travelled. Made as few stops as possible. Always wore a mask. Washed my hands until they cracked.
It was odd to leave the safety to the Chicago area, where physical distancing and mask-wearing are standard. When I crossed the state line into Indiana, it was like entering another world. I felt oddly unsafe and exposed, as people went about their business bare-faced, standing close together, behaving as though the virus had never infected their air. The politics are different, too—I eavesdropped on a conversation among three West Virginia DOT workers at a truck stop. “What are they going to take down next? The Washington Monument? Thomas Jefferson’s house? &*%# northern liberals.”
But I am safely here, doting on my grandson, conducting church business by zoom, trying to find a time to brush my hair and teeth (with separate implements) so I am presentable enough to record Sunday’s sermon. And guess what gospel reading I’ve been studying, as I nuzzle my sleeping grandson’s ginger hair? “I have not come to bring peace to the earth but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother . . .” (Matthew 10.24-39)
Though I have mostly shut the door on the world while at my daughter’s house, it keeps creeping in. Jesus is no help. His words to his disciples are a painful reminder of the cost we might bear for choosing to follow him. For his disciples, these were warning words as they set out on their first tour of duty, tasked with curing and feeding and preaching and casting out demons. For us, these warning words take us to task for turning our backs on our central mission, allowing ourselves to be trapped in the partisanship and selfishness or tribalism of these difficult days.
I’m not yet sure where the sermon will take me, but I hear Theo stirring, so I’m going to leave you for now and tend to him. And rather than dwell on the warnings in Sunday’s text, I will keep my mind on the promises found there. Promises to West Virginia DOT workers, and &*%# northern liberals, and small children, and people on the front line of the Covid-19 fight: “Have no fear. Even the hairs of your head are all counted.”
“See” you Sunday,
Pastor JoAnn Post