Second Sunday in Lent
Do you see her over there? On the other side of the orange-mesh barrier? The one who has just spent fifteen minutes putting on personal protective equipment that looks strikingly like a hazmat suit? The one who has just been doused in a chlorine solution? She’s about to enter one of the many white tents that comprise the treatment facility. She’ll spend only an hour or so administering medicines and cleaning up patients before she will be overcome, not only by her own sweat within the safety vestments, but by the emotional toll that comes with caring for the writhing, the stinking, the crying collection of sick and dying people. She will exit only to be redoused in chlorine, to monitor her own temperature regularly, and to hope that her short shift will have done some good for someone.
What is the price of compassion?
For healthcare workers serving on the frontline of the Ebola epidemic, it just might be exorbitant. As the organization Doctors Without Borders attended to the crisis in West Africa between March and October of 2014, twenty-four of its staff members contracted the virus, despite mindful adherence to strict protocols. Of the twenty-four, just eleven recovered. Still, in that timeframe, 3,200 doctors, nurses, and other support staff were willing to negotiate that price (www.doctorswithoutborders.org).
To know the risk, yet proceed with the mission anyway—is this not Christlike selflessness? To be willing to make a potentially fatal sacrifice in order that another might live? Didn’t Jesus speak to that? Didn’t Jesus actually do that?
In your Lenten journey this week, what will you be willing to risk? What are you hoping to gain? How big a dare might you take to enact love?
Chris Johnson, pastor, Fry’s Valley Moravian Church, New Philadelphia, Ohio