There are parallels between what we are hearing from the Word of God and the present circumstances brought about by Covid-19. We can look at the restrictions and or the impositions we are experiencing as a long Lenten period that has lasted more than 40 days, it could be 40 months before we are completely set free to live into a new experience. When Lent is over, we enter a jubilant period with shouts of Alleluia, praise the Lord. On this day the Lord has acted we will rejoice and be glad. Psalms 118:24.

The hopes of the good people lead to joy. Proverbs 10:28. Those who go through this desolate time hoping for deliverance will surely receive what they hoped for and much more. Because of the free and unmerited favor of God many will be spared the ravages of the present time. If we recall Abraham’s plea for the righteous in Sodom, and God’s response, we will understand that it is because of the righteous that those who do not know or have not called upon the name of the Lord are spared. Or to put it another way, God sends rain on the just and the unjust and causes the sun to shine on both alike. Some folks will make great use of the beneficence of God while others will take it for granted.

This present time has taught us many lessons that we have to accept willingly or unwillingly. For many we have learned obedience through what we suffered. If we are going to get through this time safely, there must be discipline, and some instructions to help us navigate our way to the place where there is freedom and peace, from all the impositions placed on us that altered our former way of life.

The scientists call it “herd immunity.” The sooner we pay attention to the sciences behind the vaccine, being mindful of the promises of God to protect those who believe and follow the word, the sooner we will be able to enjoy the new way of life that is on the horizon. The time is nearer than we least expect. Let not our disobedience cause it to last 40 months. By the time you hear or read this message, I would have received my second vaccine for Covid-19. How about you? How are you protecting yourself and your community? How are you reminding the congregations weekly of the need to follow the guidelines provided to keep us all safe, and by taking our vaccines to help the community reach herd immunity?

Isaiah 42:9 tells us, “The things predicted have now come true, now I will tell you of new things even before they begin to happen.” So, we see, if we hoped for better days, we have the assurance that hope will not disappoint us and we can move forward with hope in our hearts that in a matter of time, the pandemic will be over and the redeemed of the Lord will be free.

As Lent prepares us to celebrate Easter, and in getting to Easter we have to journey through the pageantry and drama of Holy Week, so must this long restricted period prepare us to celebrate its demise and our well won victory. Job 14:7 tells us there is hope for a tree that is cut down, that it will sprout again and its tender branches will not fail. Therein lies a lesson of hope for us as we endure the challenges of the present time knowing that, if we are obedient, we too will overcome and be the source for others to find their way through the perils of the present time.

May our hosannas last as long as is necessary and until we arrive at our alleluias, Amen.

— The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs, bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands.