The first line of the first reading in today’s lectionary texts could have been written about us in our present predicament, i.e. Covid-19, the coronavirus. From the Hebrew Scriptures we read: With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses. (NM 21:48)
When things aren’t going our way, especially if the distress continues for a long time, people usually begin to look around for someone to blame for the trouble. In the Bible passage today, the guilty party is clear. Moses is at fault; he brought them into the desert. He could complain also, however, since he was just doing what God directed.
We’ve now been in this situation for six months – throughout the spring and our summer vacations. Who is the culprit in our predicament? Some say nations in faraway lands. Some blame the president of the United States. Then there are the people who refuse to wear a mask, or those who want to party in large groups. There’s enough blame this time to go around. The big question, however, is not how the virus began and grew to pandemic strength, but rather how we are responding to the situation now at hand.
It’s tricky because ultimately we are fighting something that is invisible and we aren’t good at seeing what cannot be seen. We have to look deep inside ourselves for coping mechanisms that will help rather than harm. Pointing fingers is no remedy. We need to be about silencing complaint and be doing what we are instructed that will help to mitigate the disease until such time as a safe and effective vaccine is found and made available.
Pointing fingers and complaining never did solve anything. It just escalates the problem. It has been said that those who are not part of the solution are usually part of the problem. It’s time to stop complaining and find out how we can help. It may include some uncomfortable or inconvenient practices but it surely beats wandering in the desert for 40 years!