Protecting the Vulnerable

Lately I have been listening to more news than I should, and I really must stop mainly because it makes me so angry.  To listen to those who would open-up our country just so they can get a hair cut just makes my blood pressure go through the roof. How can people be so, I don’t know, stupid.

All this complaining reminds me of the Israelites after they were rescued from slavery.  Several times the Israelites complained to Moses about the hardships they were encountering in the wilderness.  Exodus 16:1-3 is one of my favorites, it really showed what a bunch of complainers they were.

 1The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

I doubt it was the “whole” congregation, more than likely, just like today, it was a bunch of sniveling twits who just wanted their own way and thought they could bully God.  That’s what we have today those who only want their own way and want to bully us into doing their bidding, with no thought about who they put at risk.  Not at all unlike those who complained they would have been better off as slaves in Egypt.

 Selfishness has always been a character flaw in humanity. Sometimes it is to our good, such as when we need to take care of ourselves in order to care for others. But all to often selfishness becomes something that destroys our ability to empathize with our fellow travelers in this world. If we care for ourselves to the exclusion of those we are asked to be mindful of our selfcare becomes destructive of those around us and separates us from the Holy Spirit who calls to us.

What has always confused me is why the rest of the Israelite congregation didn’t refute the bullies? My only speculation, and it is speculation, is that they were afraid of what the bullies would do to them.  Not all that different than what is going on today. We too are afraid of the bullies. We are afraid of what we might look like if we go up against them. Fear is a force that keeps us from being everything we are meant to be. To fight against our own fears is the hardest battle we will ever have. But fight we must, and many are, in many, different, ways. But we need to be more vocal, more visible if we are to combat those who would put all of us at risk of the Novel Corona Virus.

So, the majority of Washingtonians are following the guidelines advocated by our state and local governments and we understand the reasons for them even if we don’t like it. We know that what we do will protect those who are at the greatest risk of this virus and we care enough for our neighbors to do what we can. However, we also must call out and resist those who would rush back to some kind of normalcy before we have the tools defend ourselves from the virus.  Those tools will take upwards of a year to a year and half and rushing supposed cures will only create greater harm.

What I personally would like to do to the bullies, who would put us all at risk, is not for publication, except for one method. If they want to go unprotected, then isolate them. Let them congregate together in areas away from the rest of us.

Our local and state governments must provide support for those who need financial, housing, and food assistance and all of us must support our local business’ so that they can care for their employees and themselves. We need to help our neighbors survive and protect them from infection just as they protect us. 

To protect each other is what we are called to do, as good citizens, good neighbors, and as people who find faith in each other. It is not easy, but as my father used to say: “what is worthwhile in this life is never easy, but it is rewarding.”

Ruth Jewel, ©May 23, 2020


Tomorrow You’ll Be Brave – Prayerful Tuesday

Tomorrow you’ll be brave, you say? Fool! Dive today
From the cliff of what you know into what you can’t know.
You fear the rocks? Better men than you have died on them;
Dying on Love’s rocks is nobler than a life of death. 

– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi,
Daily OM, May 7, 2016 )

By Alexey Topolyanskiy, Unsplash, February 22, 2016
By Alexey Topolyanskiy, Unsplash, February 22, 2016

It is always “tomorrow” for me, I always want to put off taking that risk until tomorrow.  Maybe that is why this saying of Rumi’s means so much to me that I want to share it with you.  This week I am offering Rumi’s saying for meditation with Lectio Divina.

  • Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Focus for a few moments on your breathing; or use a “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” as you gently and gradually center your thoughts. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.
  • Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In Lectio Divina, The One Spirit is teaching us to listen to the Divine voice, to seek the Spirit in silence. The One Spirit does not reach out and grab us; rather, we are gently invited to go ever more deeply into the presence of the One.
  • Take the word or phrase into you center. Hold it in your thoughts and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with the One.
  • Speak to the One Spirit who has reached out to you. Whether you use words, ideas, or images–or all three–is not important. Interact with the One as you would with someone who you know loves and accepts you. And give to the One Spirit what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Experience the One by using the word or phrase you have been given as a means of blessing and of transforming the ideas and memories that your reflection on the One’s word has awakened. Give to the One Spirit what you have found within your heart.
  • Rest in the embrace Spirit. And when you are invited to return to your contemplation of Spirits word or to your inner dialogue with the One Spirit, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that the One Spirit is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.

Ruth Jewell, ©May 10, 2016