Great Plains Daily Devotional for 3/22/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Altoona UMC
Buffalo UMC
High Prairie UMC
Parsons District
Caney UMC
Parsons District
Chanute: First UMC
Parsons District
Chanute: Otterbein UMC
Parsons District

Today's Lectionary Text

Matthew 5:7 

“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.

Today's Devotional

I recently had a full-knee replacement and went to a skilled nursing facility for a few days until I was sure I could handle life on my own.  It was supposed to be a stay that would make it easier for family members to visit me in my initial recovery period.  Enter COVID-19.

My third day in the nursing home they began restricting outside visits – unless the resident was literally at death’s door.  By the time I was ready to check out six days later, all residents were being required to take meals in our rooms.
All of this was only a minor issue for me, since I knew I would not be residing there for long and had plenty of distractions between therapy sessions and reading materials.  But I was one of only a few residents who was not cognitively challenged due to stroke, or some form of dementia.  These – and even more stringent – precautions are necessary to protect these populations from this dangerous viral mutation.

In the first few days I was a resident, though, I noticed a transition happening.  On my first day I noticed how the more alert residents interacted with each other over meals, and how happy they were to receive visitors from the outside.  As safety dictated the restricting of visitors from the outside, though, I started seeing even more confusion in the eyes of residents who did not understand why they could no longer receive visits from family members.  I also saw the compassion of staff grow stronger – even as their work was made more difficult with each new layer of restrictions.  Nurses, CMAs, CNAs, cooks, maintenance, management – they all worked together to give as much comfort and support as possible to the residents.

As I’ve thought about this for the last couple of days, the words from the Sermon on the Mount about showing mercy have been running through my mind.  In these days of fear about what is happening – or not – with COVID-19, schools closing, churches looking for new ways to minister in light of attendance restriction, parental concerns about child care or even being able to earn a living, mercy and compassion seem to be in short supply.  But those qualities are only as prevalent as are those who are willing to practice them.

It seems to me that our Christian witness requires us to show mercy and compassion to everyone around us – and even reach out to strangers where we can.  Could it be that this dangerous virus has arrived in our midst in the season of Lent in order that we might better learn to offer mercy to others in all seasons of life?  Probably not.  But the need to learn mercy is universal and never-ending.
-Rev. Robbie Fall, Retired Elder  Hutchinson  KS


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