We must continue to love and let God lead us

Published 6:00 am Friday, May 29, 2020

As the story goes, a man and his family weathered a catastrophic storm. It raged mercilessly and ravaged their whole existence. They held onto each other, they prayed and sought God’s reassurance.

The waves grew high and swept away everything around them. They felt the lurch and sickening disorientation as the wind and waves hit them from every side. In exhaustion, they each eventually collapsed.

When they awoke, before opening their eyes they prayed it had all been a dream. But then they heard their shelter creak and groan, assaulted by the unceasing wind and rain. The storm and its impact were undeniably real. The landscape of their whole world would never be the same.

Hurricane. Earthquake. Tsunami. We have seen the news countless times. Whatever the cause, the tale is one of our oldest. Human beings encountering an event that “turns downward” (Greek: kata -strophe; catastrophe). Even before we as a species learned to write, we told an oral legend of a flood that impacted the whole world. The Bible includes it (Genesis 6-8) as the story of a man named Noah. He and his family endured a year quarantined in an ark as the world around them completely changed.

The biblical story of Noah has been an enduring reminder that humanity across time has known suffering and catastrophe. Yet even the youngest children have picked up on the subtle signs and symbols. The rainbows we see after storms have been regular reminders that at some point life does go on. It may look quite different, but it does move forward.

Society is in a process of reopening and people are striving to balance safety and a new structure to life. There is disagreement over the details (sadly a tale as old as Cain and Abel), and for some that has devolved into threats/actuality of violence. The truth is, the ark and flood didn’t wash away our humanity. We must continue daily to learn to live with each other, love one another, and let God lead us.

I will exit this COVID quarantine ark elsewhere, and this is my last article in this newspaper. On June 30, I will be sent by my bishop to serve another community. I am reminded that God is here, there, and everywhere. Even when everything else we have known has been washed away, I encourage you to remember it too. God bless you all.

REV. MICHAEL KENDALL is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. He can be reached at mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.