What a long and strange week it has been since we sent an email last week to let you know about our plans to respond to COVID-19 at Lutheran Campus Ministry. I am sure that your spring breaks were not what you had been hoping and planning for, and I imagine you are even more heartbroken than I am that you won’t be returning to campus for the remainder of the semester.
Less than a month ago, Christians all across the globe gathered together to bear ashes upon our foreheads and to be reminded of our humanity with these words: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
These words seem much too real to us now. The fragility of human existence is more apparent than ever, and each of us is being called to give up so much because of this pandemic. We are mourning the loss of time with friends, the loss of the communities we hold dear, the loss of the expected celebrations of spring and graduation.
This week, Richard Davidson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at UW wrote an excellent article entitled “COVID-19 and our Common Humanity.” (https://centerhealthyminds.org/news/covid-19-and-our-common-humanity) In it he wrote:
“Social distancing is also an act of generosity and compassion toward others by eliminating our interactions as a possible vector for viral transmission. Let that sink in – the primary motivation for social distancing is to benefit others.”
In these frustrating times, perhaps it can be helpful for us to remember that the measures we are taking are acts of compassion, love, and solidarity for those who are most vulnerable. In this way, we are not simply having life stolen from us, but rather mindfully giving up our privilege for the sake of others.
In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul encourages his congregation to imitate Christ, saying:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.”Phillippians 2:1-8
We are servants of Christ, the one who gave up privilege and joined humanity in the depths of human suffering. As we are called upon to give up what is most dear to us, may we know that we do so out of love for Christ and our neighbor.
In these coming weeks, if you need support, encouragement, and connection, please call upon this community. Join us virtually at one of our social times or faith conversations. Reach out to me if you’d like to talk one-on-one.
Know that I am holding each of you and our campus community in prayer. May God grant you peace and encouragement.