Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lent 2020: We're Not in Charge

Danielle Evans
"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." So says Jesus in today's reading from Matthew.

This passage is a key part of Jesus' upside-down teachings of the Kingdom of God, where the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Humility, I've found, is very important to the Orthodox way of life -- far more than it seems to be in Western Christianity, which more often than not comes off as very arrogant, prideful, and boastful. It's also probably the hardest virtue to cultivate, because our ego rails so hard against it. I once heard somebody quip that humility is the one virtue that, if you think you have it, you definitely don't.

We all should be humbled at this particular moment in our history. For no matter how civilized, advanced, and intelligent we think we are as a species, our entire society has been whipped into a panic and brought to its collective knees over media-driven fear of a microscopic virus. Maybe we've all been so sheltered from discomfort in our narcissistic first-world bubbles that we've become detached from the fact that we're all finite organisms. Maybe we've forgotten that we get sick and that every single one of us, without exception, will die. Or maybe we're just being reminded of how irrational our species is when authority figures instill them with fear. 

Whatever the case, we're not in charge. We never have been, and we never will be. And this is an awfully good time for the human race to reflect on that reality.

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