Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. - Hebrews 12:1-2a
We have now arrived at the time when our country is reporting more cases of COVID on a daily basis than since this pandemic reached our shores at the beginning of the year. Yesterday, November 8, the daily case number reported was well over 120,000 and is expected to rise.
While I have essentially remained at home since March, I have had the unfortunate occasion to perform some funerals over these past months. I have to tell you that while our area funeral homes have done a remarkable job in keeping people appropriately distanced, enforcing mask-wearing, making sure there are masks and plenty of hand sanitizer available, and offering streaming in order to keep gatherings to a minimum, it is excruciatingly difficult to be in a space of grief and not be able to offer hugs to people and keep a distance from them.
These days are difficult enough, but when we celebrate the lives and spirits of those who go on to become part of the great cloud of witnesses around us it is all-the-more painful when in order to keep one another safe we can’t properly comfort one another. I know that this has been a story played out in various ways with families who cannot be in the vicinity of their loved ones who are suffering with COVID as many are forced to visit through windows or behind plexiglass. We hear too many stories of COVID patients that die alone, too many stories of elderly parents their children and grandchildren can’t visit in their assisted care facilities.
I wrote earlier in the year about endurance through this, and most certainly our endurance is needed now as there are clearly months of this pandemic yet ahead of us, and too many more lives will go to be with the great cloud of witnesses. Yet with our faith, we have the means to help us run with perseverance this race that is set before us, difficult and painful as it is.
As we watch the numbers rise, let us continue to keep in our prayers all of those affected by this horrific virus; patients, families, and caregivers all.
God Of Mercy, grant that your Spirit be with those whose lives are so painfully changed by illness, those who care for them, and those who must learn to live without them when they go Home to You.