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BY REV. EMILY BREWER

March 18, 2020


Has this devotional grounded your resistance to Trump in Scripture and empowered you to act for the common good? If the answer is "yes," then please help us reach more progressive Christians. Become a Patron today.
"‘We’re Petrified’: Immigrants Afraid to Seek Medical Care for Coronavirus" via the New York Times. "Trump administration policies that discourage immigrants from coming forward could hamper efforts to contain the epidemic." 
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more." Revelation 22:1-3a
These feel like apocalyptic times. In Greek, the word “apocalyptic” (apokalypsis) means “unveiling.” This pandemic is unveiling the inequalities that have already been true, the consolidation of power and wealth in the hands of a few that has already been true, the financial precariousness that many live in that has already been true. This pandemic is just unveiling in new and more urgent ways what has already been true.

With this unveiling, too, come new opportunities for change. We have new opportunities to think collectively rather than individualistically about our health, wealth, and well-being; new opportunities to redistribute wealth, to work for and vote in candidates who will help implement universal healthcare, to connect and care for each other in new ways.

Progressive Christians have often thrown out the book of Revelation because it's "too apocalyptic" and has been misused to scare people into converting to Christianity. But this apocalyptic text shows us that understanding the evil we're confronting can help us move into something new. At the end of the book, the angel shows John "the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life" with enough fruit to feed the world; "and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore." May this unveiling moment help us work together to dismantle the systems that divide us and oppress many--racism, capitalism, colonialism, and more--, and may we work together to make this moment into a turning point toward the healing of the nations with clean water flowing and access to food and healthcare being the new landmarks of our communities.

(A version of this reflection will also appear in Unbound.)
Sign this petition by the Poor People’s Campaign to President Trump to expand the emergency provisions to care for people in need (that’s all of us)!
God, in the beginning, you moved across the waters. Move among us, move us, help us move into ways of thinking and being that are collective; move us to dismantle the systems that keep people un-housed and poor and undocumented and without access to healthcare. Let us practice mutual aid, yes, but let us also pick up our hammers and destroy these systems whose weaknesses are more apparent than ever. Help us move through this apocalypse with courage, wisdom, and grace. Amen. 
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