Palm Sunday of the virus

Look at the heavens and see,
observe the clouds that are higher than you.
If you have sinned, how have you affected God?
If you are righteous, what do you give to God?
Your wickedness affects others like you,
and your righteousness, other human beings.

– Job 35

To see into the interconnectedness of all living things is to see how all living things are part of a unified field that contains all, and at the same time to see that this entire field is embodied by each being.
– Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

These are my Judeo-Christian and Buddhist readings on this Palm Sunday, as I make my way a chapter a day through the Hebrew Scriptures alongside email devotionals from the Buddhist journal Tricycle.

This virus is teaching us we’re all one body. What one does affects all. The point of life isn’t to show God how much better we are than others, for brownie points toward a future reward. The point of life is emptying our selves to love and lift each other in the one mind and body that is God right now and forever. This message emanates beautifully in a small Minnesota town from the honeycomb windows of the church at Saint John’s Abbey, whose architecture was so beloved by my husband Hal.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the palm-waving crowds yelled hosanna, which is not Hebrew for “yay.” It is Hebrew for “save us.” But he wasn’t about their idea of salvation. Within a week they murdered him. Or tried, anyway. His spirit lived on and multiplied by the billion, with a message of selfless love for those with hearts and minds open enough to hear.

Science teaches us that viruses can both wreak havoc and strengthen resistance. May this time of darkness bring an era of brighter light.

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