A milestone

Milestone n. 

1. A stone marker set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles from a given point.

2. An important event, as in a child’s development, the history of a nation, or  the advancement of knowledge in a field;  a turning point.

Our nation reached a grim milestone this past week when the number of Covid-19 deaths exceeded 500,000. That is a staggering number and sadly each individual had family members and friends, coworkers and neighbors who are now grieving over the loss of so many lives, many of which did not have to occur had we as a nation listened to the experts, worn masks, not traveled and held others more accountable. 

This pandemic is a reminder of how interconnected we are one to another. And yet some still dare to suggest that what they do is their own business and no one has a right to tell them otherwise. Well, I beg to differ. When my actions put others in jeopardy or worse yet, cause their death I am in fact responsible regardless of how I try to spin it. 

I am thankful that on Monday evening  President Biden and Vice-President Harris, along with their spouses emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play “Amazing Grace” as they held a moment of silence. Our president acknowledged the loss and the nation’s pain. 

President Biden also correctly voiced that we have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur…to heal we must remember. He also ordered flags on federal property to be flown at half-staff for five days. No, it won’t change anything but it honors those who did not need to die and shows their families that there are people who care deeply about their grief. 

President Biden also spoke these words: “I promise you, the day will come when the memory of the loved one you lost will bring a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye. It will come, I promise you.” 

For me personally the month of March is a reminder of three very significant deaths in my life and so I am holding to the promise made in that statement because on many days I am not there yet. But to know that there are people who surround me with love and support is extremely important. So again, how wonderful that our president took the time to show that he understands and cares. 

Beloved, there is a lot of pain and grief being felt across our nation. Please hold those grieving in prayer and please do whatever you can to stop the spread of the virus so more lives need not be lost to Covid-19. 

Let us pray: Almighty God, Father of mercies and God of all comfort, deal graciously with the 500,000+ lives lost to Covid-19 and all who mourn that, casting every care on you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier