Corrine lived next door to a small church I served in rural Minnesota. We knew her as a person who pitched in and helped out where needed. It was easy to depend on her for many things. In fact, we depended on her for more than we even realized. One day Corrine got sick and was hospitalized for an extended period of time.
About then, we began to notice problems in the church kitchen. Suddenly, it was overrun with mice. What no one had realized until Corrine was sick, is that she had been dealing with the mice problem for years. Never once had she told us, nor had she complained. She had simply taken care of the problem. The cracked foundation of the old church oozed mice. While the rest of us had been dealing with what we thought were more important matters, Corrine, was ridding the church of infestations of the small rodents.
Corrine comes to mind when I think of people taken for granted, until the crisis of Covid19 entered our world. Today we look around at store clerks, fast food workers, custodians, delivery persons and garbage haulers realizing the essential services they have always provided. As Covid19 has spread throughout the meat packing industry, we’ve been reminded that many who work in those industries are the newly arrived. Tracing the outbreak in one Minnesota community has been compounded by more than forty languages spoken by the sick. Coming as immigrants with hopes and dreams, they gather in melting pots of meat packing and poultry processing plants. We call them our heroes today, when yesterday they were the easy targets of our frustration. Yesterday’s unwelcome and targeted immigrant is today’s essential worker. Yesterday’s undocumented worker is in today’s front line, keeping the food supply going.
Covid19 has reminded us how interconnected we are. The wellbeing of one person, increases the well being of another. An illness multiplied in one industry can disrupt an entire nation. We are both interconnected and interdependent. All of us matter. Each of us is loved by God. Each of us has value and worth. *Clayton J. Schmit writes, “Things are always different than expected with Jesus. Might it also be that things could be different with his followers? How wonderful it would be if people said, ‘These followers of Jesus are not like other people; come and see how they love the world.’ ”
May we so love the world and its people that we value each person, recognizing each is made in the image of God. For each of us, all of us, are God’s precious and beloved children.
“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10
*Feasting on the Word, Year A Volume 2, pg 371