Yesterday was a pleasant day of refreshment during our Great Lenten Journey. The Feast of the Annunciation, on the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, offered a brief visit to an oasis during this long and intense journey. We drank from the well, and now depart again for the next leg of our journey.
I use the image of the oasis because I consider the world a desert filled with dangerous animals, burning passions, and very little shelter. Those animals that have adapted to survive in the desert are often hardened by life and usually only come out of hiding at night. All those images are rather appropriate for the secular world in which we live. Thankfully we have the Church and our feasts as brief oasis stops along our desert journey of life.
This year, due to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, many Churches remain closed to the public, not as indication of fear but as actions of caution. Even the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is closed to the public. Just as a traveler walks cautiously through the desert, the Church traverses the world in caution, guided by the Holy Spirit. With our Churches closed, that means we must endure a slightly longer journey through the desert until we reach our next oasis.
I promised hope this week, and there is always hope. Christ has given us many gifts, not the least of which is our minds and creativity. Using God’s gifts, we are able to virtually see each other and hear each other’s voices in prayer. We know this won’t last forever. My advice is that we follow the example of the animals that have learned to survive the desert. Stay low. Don’t go out in danger. When the time is safe we will again exit our homes and continue our path.
In the meantime, read today’s passage below from Genesis and be reminded that it takes but a moment of letting our guard down that humanity returns to sin. Keep the faith, and keep safe!
These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. – Genesis 10.32-11.9