A Statement of Hope from Bishop Leonard Fairley
There is a fundamental spiritual component to our present COVID-19 crisis. While the landscape of our lives change, we must stand on some simple truths that we’ve repeated all our lives. We must now call upon these truths for strength, peace and guidance in the midst of the storm. We don’t deny the storm, but stand up in it, searching for ways to be passionate spiritual disciples who lead from the center of an unshakable faith. Again, we don’t deny the storm. The storm is real. It will continue to call upon each of us to combine our responses in reason, determination, and faith.
The storm will change how we do things, but it cannot, and should not, touch our souls or alter our fundamental belief in a God who will not abandon us. There are always defining historical moments in time that call forth the best in each of us. There are times we must lean into transformative living with all our hearts, minds, and souls. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that our faith is tested in the crucible of upheaval.
The convergence of multiple anxiety-laden events is, at present, stretching an already tension-filled atmosphere. However, we do have options as to how we will respond and choose to live with each other. Even when we are called upon to change the way we live or the structures that, until now, have allowed us a certain relative level of comfort.
We must never lose our spirit of generosity, nor our desire to practice “random acts of kindness.” In times of darkness and chaos, we must become persons who punch holes in the darkness. We must hold tight to our God-inspired creativity and spiritual imaginations. When the former ways of doing things lose their power to effect the changes needed to weather the storms, fear and anxiety invade our spirits, stifling creativity that often moves us toward unforeseen solutions. This fear and anxiety cause us to circle the wagons, to protect some sense of normalcy. But, when normal is no more, the darkness can blind us if we allow it.
God is calling us to a future with hope. We must face whatever life brings with eyes, hearts, and ears wide open to what lies beyond the storms. We, as God’s people, press forward in the storm discovering those places that no darkness can ever touch.
There is a place in our souls that neither COVID-19, nor what might be happening in our denomination, can erase. Our spiritual and temporal lives have always depended upon discovering and living from the basic center of faith in Jesus Christ, who is master of the storm. Please remember, this is not faith absent of reason. With both God-given gifts working together, we know that this too shall pass.
The resiliency of our unshakable faith will always lead to the bright promise of hope, even while we grieve all the losses we are now experiencing, especially loss of life. Sisters and brothers in Christ, I remind you: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming.”