Rev. Virginia Jarocha Ernst

There is so much that seems uncertain and unsettling to think about these days. Our health, our loved ones’ health, our personal economy and the economy of the whole country. It is impressive to see how deeply all of these are inextricably linked and interdependent. With the alarming speed of a virus, we have found ourselves living deep into our 7th Principle. It is as if we turned the whole set of Principles upside down, and our first thought is of our small place in the independent web rather than of our prized individual worth and dignity. It is as if we now put cooperation and the health of others ahead of our own personal needs and desires. That shift changes everything.

I get the feeling that once we get through this crisis many things will never be the same again. Knocked out of our routines and assumptions of security, how will we create a beloved community? Apparently, we are figuring that out right now. Recreating the world we want to live in is part of the process of metabolizing the reality of a pandemic.

So here we are, faced with mystery and crisis. I do not know what the services in April should be about or even where they will be found (YouTube, the Earth Room, or some as yet undisclosed location?). However, I do know that Rev. Craig and I, and all the staff, will keep on serving the values and mission of UUCMC as best we are able in the days to come. Already those participating in virtual Coffee Hour and other meetings online are getting to know each other better. Already we are discovering what is at the heart of our faith in each other and the greater good. We are shifting and rebalancing because those principles are still the values we want to live by, but their order of priority has been turned upside down.

Below is a poem that speaks to the problem of metabolizing even the most troubling of circumstances. Maybe it will speak to your predicament as it does to mine.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Virginia

“Northern Pike” by James Wright

All right. Try this,
Then. Everybody
I know and care for,
And every body
Else is going
To die in loneliness
I can’t imagine and a pain
I don’t know. We had
To go on living. We
Untangled the net, we slit
The body of this fish
Open from the hinge of the tail
To a place beneath the chin
I wish I could sing of.
I would just as soon we let
The living go on living.

An old poet whom we believe in
Said the same thing, and so
We paused among the dark cattails and prayed
For the muskrats,
For the ripples below their tails,
For the little movements that we knew the crawdads were making under water,
for the right hand wrist of my cousin who is a policeman.
We prayed for the game warden’s blindness.
We prayed for the road home,
We ate the fish.
I am so happy.
There must be something very beautiful in my body.