This Change Moment

Our world, our political leaders, our thinkers, our artists, all seem to be focused on the Coronavirus threat. It's united us worldwide. All are threatened medically, suddenly, from out of nowhere. We are almost equally unprepared, and many feel set upon and attacked.

But I think it's the wrong focus.

No, don't get me wrong. We are authentically confronting a massive medical challenge. It's overwhelming, a tsunami off shore headed in our direction, and many believe there's not enough time to reach higher ground. Many will drown.

And yet, I am taken with the religious response: not what is the threat, but how do I react?

My first impulse may be to take care of myself: my health, the health of those I love. But then, notice, I check internally to see what else feels threatened. Will I have the necessities of life: shelter, food, clothing, water, air, meaning?

Interesting that our first reaction to this pandemic, this plague, has been universal: none can easily escape. The solution must be communal. We are all in this together.

But the other issues I silently check out in my head: are also universal concerns: shelter, food, clothing, water, air, meaning. But those are not equally threatened. The question arises from the same source: the virus. But some have, and some have not, and some are uncertain.

Now the question: how do I react? The medical problem is universal, and its medical solution will be universal. But all will not have equal access to that solution, just as we don't have equal access to shelter, food, clothing, water, air and meaning.

IF WE HAVE DISCOVERED OUR HUMAN CONDITION TOGETHER, ALL SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE VIRUS. WHY DO WE NOT SEE THAT THE OTHER PROBLEMS ARE ALSO A MATTER OF THE COMMONALITY OF OUR HUMANITY?

Palestinians and Israelis are cooperating, working together, to solve the virus issue. They have set aside their political differences in the face of a common threat.

Then why do we not all do the same? Why, in the face of this common threat, do we not realize that the solutions: medical care, shelter, food, clothing, water, air and meaning are also human issues that require a united human solution?

How wonderful would it be if in the face of this terror, this universal threat, this overwhelming challenge that unites us, we also discovered that our common humanity lies at the base of all of our major life concerns, and that solutions for some must be solutions for all?

Think about the possibility inherent in the moment: here in greater Kansas City: might we begin fulfilling the message of this virus: we are all human, we all face the same threats and the same solutions. If only we could continue to acknowledge the universality of our condition. What a world this would be. What a blessing this virus would become!

Think about it, because right now, in the face of a new reality, you might help to change the world.

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© 2016 by Rabbi Mark H. Levin.