Germany – Europe – the whole world is in a state of crisis. This time, it is not because of the financial markets or due to war. This time, the crisis is due to a little, invisible virus that causes swaying and even the collapse of our globalised perfection and security. Not only politicians and business leaders have to react to the crisis, I am affected myself, and so are my family, my friends and my neighbours.
This challenge in my daily life, that I thought was so orderly and safe, rises during Lent 2020. This thought does not leave me. This year, I do not have to look for something to do without. This year I have to deal with an abstinence that is inflicted on me by the current situation. That is new and unfamiliar to me. In Jewish-Christian history though, the change we did not choose by ourselves is something that occurs repeatedly. This shows us that there is a spiritual challenge involved:
- Do I fasten my heart onto God and meet the situation with equanimity and the confidence of a believer – even if there is huge uncertainty?
- Do I act responsibly and follow the recommendations that are setting limits to my personal freedom and choices without grumbling and insurgency?
- Do I help my neighbour within my possibilities and with the resources that are mine to dispose of?
Perhaps this crisis is a chance for me to discern that all the safety measures I have created around me do not really carry me. Perhaps, out of my unreflected perception of entitlement, I can re-create an existence thankful for all the things that surround me and that I can make use of on a daily basis? Perhaps the constraint under which I am living right now can be the base of an unexpected solidarity in the neighbourhood. Perhaps this crisis can start a change in some political decision-making processes.
The signs of a change in our society are visible. Maybe this time of crisis actually is a time of grace. Who knows?