Monday, May 25, 2020

Tipping Into Grace

Things feel precarious these days.

It is the end of May, 2020, and we have been living with a global pandemic for three months now. Even longer, actually. It feels to me like we are at a tipping point. It feels to me like what happens in the next few days and weeks is going to set the next few months in motion, and maybe years. And it feels to me that it could tip either way.

Put simply, we will either tip into fear and frustration, solidifying the divisions among us, or we will tip into love and grace, drawing us closer together than we have ever been.

Already angry protestors carry automatic weapons to capitol buildings to threaten government officials. Frustrated customers berate store clerks trying to enforce simple, easy to follow rules. A stylist with Covid symptoms shows up to work with dozens of clients, and when the story breaks she receives death threats. And decisions that should be guided by reason and science are guided by political party affiliation. And so it goes.

It feels precarious, like we are tipping toward fear, anger, and divisiveness. I just hope it isn’t too late for us to tip back the other way.

I get the idea we’re feeling it personally, as well. The weight of these three months is grinding us down. We are sad, tired, and grouchy. It is hard to focus. Our relationships are strained. Our hearts are heavy and a weariness has settled into our bones. And so just at the moment we as a society are hanging at this precarious tipping point, we lack the personal fortitude to do anything about it but succumb.

It’s no wonder though, is it? The pressure cooker of this pandemic has slowly increased over time, squeezing our anxiety until we have reached a point where it either has to be released or it will explode. Many of us, feeling this pressure build up, are rushing to restaurants and bars and gyms, foregoing masks and physical distancing guidelines. Or expressing caustic bitterness on social media with no empathy or understanding whatsoever. Or eating too much unhealthy food. Or drinking too much. Or… pick your poison.

It is as if we just need a pressure release, and we don’t care how unhealthy it is.

My prayer is that we will figure out a way to tip into love and grace, and become closer over these next few weeks than we ever have before. And it will take intentionality, cooperation, and determination to do so. It will take honesty and good communication and a level of vulnerability not many of us are naturally comfortable with. It will take trust, lots and lots of trust.

And most of all, it will take the Holy Spirit. It will take us surrendering ourselves to God’s desires and yielding our own wills to the divine. It will take a renewal of our commitment to our calling to be the church.

I refuse to think that it is too late, that we have overbalanced into fear and anger with no hope of correcting things. I continue to hold on to faith in the human capacity for love, which is far greater than we sometimes imagine. I continue to hold on to faith in God’s capacity to redeem and reconcile. This is a precarious moment, a tipping point. With God’s help, may we choose wisely, and discover ourselves tipping into grace.

(And yes, this song is on my mind a lot these days.)