America is suffering from a spiritual virus. The good news of Easter is that we have a vaccine.
By Otis Moss III
America is infected by a virus that has changed life for millions. This infection does not respect borders, gender, racial difference or income level. Anyone can get this virus and transmit it to others.
Epidemiologists understand how covid-19 affects the lungs. But the infection I am speaking of directly attacks the heart, reducing its capacity to pump compassion, courage, mercy, justice, humility and forgiveness.
This virus has many names. Prejudice. Immorality. Hegemony. But all can be traced to the same pathogen, better known as sin.*
*Please note that my intention while sharing this post is to share the feeling of hope that I derived from it. Despite our diverse spiritual or philosophical perspectives, I think there is a hopeful message for all of us. And perhaps if we remember the original definition of the word sin (to miss the mark) we can all lay hold of the hope herein without getting hung up on any of Pastor Moss’ words. Despite his overtly spiritual perspective and any there’s an underlying message about courage, kindness, and things that we can all agree are just plain good! ~Thanks!
How is this virus carried? It is transmitted when people of faith speak simultaneously with arrogance and ignorance. When people sing hymns on Sunday and dump stocks on Monday, because they are worried more about their financial portfolios than human lives. When people shout “praise the Lord” while dismantling health care. When people quote scripture while making it difficult for men and women to get food stamps to feed their children.
But today is a day for good news, and that news is this: There is a vaccine for a nation infected with this virus. The scripture states: Loose the chains of injustice; set the oppressed free; share your food with the hungry; share your shelter with the poor; give your clothes to the naked. Only then will healing appear. Scripture tells us that if we live with compassion and do the work of justice, then we will see God’s light break forth like the dawn.
“Where,” I hear some asking, “will we see the dawn breaking?” It is Easter, and we are seeing glimmers already. In New York, where a large landowner refused to collect rent. On Broadway, where costume designers are now making masks for health-care providers. Outside Chicago, where a small vodka distillery switched from making alcohol to hand sanitizer.
Eventually, the full dawn will break. Our children’s children will sing with power that there lived a people who were unafraid to face a pandemic and who confronted it not with fear but compassion; not with cynicism but faith; not with predatory self-interest but justice; not with hate but love.
Otis Moss III is senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.