Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27
Jesus, I’m banging my head against a wall here…
(Figuratively. I’m not banging it literally… yet…)
Truth and gracious words and tender hearts
are not winning the day.
In a global pandemic, governors forbid that schools
require that their students learn in masks.
For God’s sake, why?
Are we to be instructed by a flood of death?
Death of children, death of parents, death of uncles,
aunts, kupuna. An unmasked Masque of the Red Death,
a viral dance through classrooms, buses,
homes, cafes, churches, and… through mortuaries.
Oh, look, as patients struggle for a breath
and hospitals require more beds
and look, the dying count is rising, too,
and truth and gracious words don’t cut it.
How could we possibly grieve the Holy Spirit more
than with this wholesale exercise of folly,
denying the urgent summons of her wisdom,
favoring the clarion call of limitless greed?
For greed has won the day, mammon taken the prize,
to summon workers back to risky work,
their children back in virus-sharing schools,
so owners profit more than they will pay.
The cause of education? That’s a laugh.
We find that educators are not valued
for the things they teach our children – but
to keep them while their parents work.
Six hundred fourteen thousand dead
in this country alone; four and a quarter
million dead around the globe and some still claim
the danger and the cost are fiction.
A falsehood that belies that we are truly
members of one body, interwoven
over oceans, nations’ borders, and our
prejudicial, harmful acts,
Connected not just in pandemic
but in ordinary time, connected
because the suffering of one
will lead to suffering for all.
We do not imitate our God in truth.
Though Christ, in love, gave himself up,
we still insist on offering up more lives
for lives, for greed, for power, for evil.
A poem/prayer based on Ephesians 4:25-5:2, the Revised Common Lectionary Second Reading for Year B, Proper 14 (19).
The image is The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome. Engraving by Levasseur after J. Delaunay. https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/70/48/4b5c28e57609137dd2009ae490f2.jpg Gallery: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0010664.html Wellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-03): https://wellcomecollection.org/works/p8gxfxrp CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36456028.