Amid the fear and uncertainty of the novel coronavirus and uncertain stock market, it is easy to become dismayed.
These are not things we can control. These are rapidly changing events that affect the way we interact with each other, the way we gather and the plans we have made to travel.
To be sure, we can do our due diligence in washing our hands, greeting each other without touching and wiping down common spaces, but we still know so little about this particular strain of virus.
It is easy for us to think we have control over our environment when things are calm.
It is easy to begin to believe we know what the day will hold, what the week will hold and even what the year will hold, but anyone who has walked through a season of life that held unexpected health issues, job loss or death of a loved one knows control is merely an illusion.
We are dust, and to dust we shall return. There is no controlling when that truth will come for any of us. Not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
Lent asks us to refocus our hearts and minds on our dustiness. Lent asks us to remember again and again day after day, week after week that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.
This season is not to make us morbid or fearful of death, but to break us of our dependence on the need to control our surroundings, our schedules and our days.
Lent asks us to walk by faith rather than by sight – remembering that, although it may look like we know what is ahead, only the Divine who goes before and behind us knows what is to come.
Lent asks us to walk by faith rather than sight, not in fear, but in trust that whatever this hour, this day and this week may bring, we walk with the Divine guiding us and leading us.
Lent asks us to walk by faith rather than by sight, awakening each morning to the realization that today is a day we can choose to live to our own selfish desires or with open hearts and minds to the ways we may bring light and love to a world clouded in the darkness of fear and uncertainty.
Merianna Harrelson is pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina, editor-in-chief of Harrelson Press Publishing, and an EthicsDaily.com / Baptist Center for Ethics board member.