From the Pulpit: Move forward to resolution

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What an up and down week. My mother died on May 14, so this week has been full of long distance phone calls selecting funeral homes and making arrangements. We were able to bring some good to my mom’s sudden death by donating tissue that will be used for burn victims. 

It was a two o’clock in the morning conversation that ended with my sister and I agreeing that our mom would want to help people if she could. My mom survived breast cancer, chemo, and radiation two years ago and we didn’t have this conversation then. 

As the shock/denial (the first stage of grief) has worn off, we have begun to share the fun memories and look at old photos. Usually in the world before COVID-19, this would happen during the planning of a celebration of life ceremony. 

Many of us have experienced the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The thing is that the stages aren’t linear. We move back and forth through them. And we can think that we are doing okay, and a smell or memory takes us down. 

This all reminded me of something I learned after the first church I served as a pastor, Hallam United Methodist Church, was destroyed by an F-4 tornado. There are Six Stages within Every Crisis: warning, risk assessment, response, management, resolution, and recovery.

We are currently living through a crisis not only in our country, but throughout our whole world. I believe we are somewhere between the response and management phase. Resolution and recovery will not come for quite some time. 

The response stage is where we look for answers. Where did this thing come from? How do you get it? What are the symptoms? This is where I have been tuning in to the press conferences that Gov. Ricketts holds each afternoon to get the latest information for Nebraska.

The management stage is where we are not sure if things are getting better or still getting worse. We are aware that conditions are constantly changing. We know that there are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges because of the crisis.

The good thing to know is just like grieving, we will eventually move further in the stages. We will move forward to resolution. We will have a vaccine. Many smart people around the world are working on it. 

Recovery may take years. We may not return to our “old normal.” But do we really want to? People have been amazing stepping up to help their neighbors and total strangers. People everywhere have returned to praying for our world. May our world, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be changed for the better.


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