COVID-19: an unwanted story

From the writer, this piece appeared in the April 15, 2020 edition of the Connection for Trinity UMC in Richmond, Virginia. Thanks for the opportunity, Bill Pike

I am certain that my granny, Margaret Harrod, wanted to burn or toss in the Haw River my favorite book, the story of Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather. But, she never did. 

Also, I know for certain, there are parts of my life story that I would like to burn or toss out too. But, I can’t. All I can do is ask for forgiveness and learn. 

Right now, I suspect we are all thinking, I wish COVID-19 didn’t exist. It is an unwanted intruder, a story we don’t want. 

 Every day, I learn another person’s story related to COVID-19. This virus is quite a puncher. Its impact is far reaching. Often, those stories have sad endings. 

But, at Trinity, I’ve seen the counter punches to COVID-19. Here are a few.

 The leadership of a program staff committed to bringing worship and other programming to our congregation and community with the use of technology. Even, Holy Week was preserved with quality and creativity.

Our office staff constructed a staggered schedule that gives them the flexibility to provide coverage each day of the week for the church.

Ronnie Johnson, Bobby McShaw, and Juanita Woodson have been keeping an eye on the building.

And way up in Haymarket, Virginia, our communication specialist, Kim Johnson, has figured out how to do a million things for us in a nanosecond. 

Church Council, the Finance Committee, the Trustees, and the Trinity Foundation are meeting via Zoom. Heck, even my 92 year old mother-in-law figured out how to Zoom!  But more importantly, these congregational leaders are working cooperatively to keep us on track.

But here are some more good Trinity stories for you to consider… our Lenten devotional book gave us a lot to ponder from many perspectives, the Stitchers and all of the masks they have handmade for workers in need, and your generosity with the food collections.

We had no idea how the food collections would turn out. But, we learned…even kind hearted people who we hadn’t seen at Trinity for a long time participated by dropping off a much needed donation.

I have thought a lot about my parents and their families during this pandemic. I keep coming back to one word…sacrifice. They embraced it.

This morning in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the quote for the day caught my eye. Everett Dirksen once said: “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”

As rigid as we might be in our traditions at Trinity, in this initial confrontation with COVID-19, I think we have shown our ability to be flexible.

Continuing to punch back at COVID-19 will require us to be flexible.

And there is one more piece to our story for COVID-19 from Matthew 28:10, when Jesus said on the morning of his resurrection: “Do not be afraid.”

If my granny can endure reading to me Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather a million times, we can punch back COVID-19.

Trinity, we will get through this. 

And we will do it with flexibility, endurance, sacrifice,  and without fear.

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