04-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ:

Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Take another deep breath, then let that one out slowly, too.

In every season of significant grieving or change, there is always that year of firsts. The first Christmas without a loved one. The first spring in a new community.The first trip with a newborn. The first day month of retirement. The days move on, regardless, but we experience them differently. All the regular subtlety of letting go and experiencing newness falls to a new clarity that has very little subtlety, at all.

This Holy Week is not subtle. The presence of death, pain, and betrayal is as real as the reporting of each day’s grim statistics and each commentator’s political analysis. Uncertainty and fear hang in the air like incense. Our understanding of the spot we’re in shifts like sand beneath us. We can be almost certain at the beginning of this week that our Friday selves will wonder if our Monday selves were just a little naive.

I am sure that there were some Good Friday disciples hiding behind closed doors from the authorities of their place and their time that looked back on the Palm Sunday disciples as naive provocateurs. Why did we…? We should have… If we’d only known…

But we can’t linger there because, again, this Holy Week is not a subtle one. It’s a Holy Week in the middle of plague that continues to spread. There will be times we will need to take sacred steps to safeguard our health and the health of our neighbors and these will frequently be the most important things we do this week. This week, we may not wash one another’s feet but we will definitely wash our own hands. We will recognize death on a cross and the deaths of thousands. It’s all part of it this year.

And there will be times when Easter inserts itself early. Thoughts of resurrection will intermingle with thoughts about all those have risen up in this moment. How will you find ways to say “Alleluia” for the chaplains, the health care workers, the local church pastors, the grocery store workers, the waste collectors, the volunteers, the scientists, and on and on; all those taking on risks and responsibilities to try and save or help our neighbors as best they can? There may be days when all of Holy Week is present in a matter of hours or even minutes. Our tears of mourning may also be our tears of thankfulness and joy.

Today is Holy Monday of Holy Week. It will be strange and blessed and horrible and beautiful and Good Friday and Easter.

Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Take another deep breath, then let that one out slowly, too.

With hope,


Rev. Mike Denton

Conference Minister of The Pacific Northwest Conference of

The United Church of Christ

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