Trust and Truth

Rev. Deborah Moldow

Bishop Gerald Glenn trusted in God. As pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Virginia, he announced in a sermon on March 22, "I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus," and that he was not afraid to die. The following day, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam banned all public and private gatherings of 10 people or more by executive order. On April 4, it was announced that both the pastor and his wife had tested positive for coronavirus. During Easter services, it was announced that Bishop Glenn had died from Covid-19.

How many of us these days trust in God – and are willing to extend that trust even unto death? Perhaps this level of trust was less rare in times gone by. When I was growing up, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, almost everyone belonged to a religious community. We relied on the expertise of doctors, lawyers and other professionals. Our parents believed in science. We all watched the same news on one of three television networks, all with trusted reporters to whom we turned in times of crisis. We expected the government to make wise decisions and believed our nation had a mission for the good of the world.

Our world has changed. Today our entire western world is suffering from a lack of trust in any authority. We no longer believe that the press is free, that business is fair, that the medical establishment promotes our best health, or that those in government wish to serve the common good. Science has removed any sense of solid ground to stand on, embracing concepts like the uncertainty principle and the unsettling discovery that light can be a wave or a particle depending on the observer. We don't turn to the elders in our family or community anymore in a culture that glorifies youth. And we were already losing trust in religious leaders well before the uncovering of longtime abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Scripture may still be revered but is rarely held up as authority except in societies regarded as repressive. And we have come to realize that even the facts in the history books that we accepted when we were young can only offer an interpretation of events, expressed by the winners at the time.

Our history doesn’t tell us of a previous time when there was no leader, no tribal elder, no shaman to which to turn. This may be the first time that so much of the world is experiencing this discomfort all together, just when extreme polarization of both income and politics has made the world a tinderbox of biased information – rather ironic in a time known as the information age.

Onto this stage has stepped the pandemic of Covid-19, making it all too evident that our sources of information can be a matter of life or death. 

So where can we turn to find the truth?

Perhaps the darkness of the current moment offers us a clue. As the world goes within to observe an almost global quarantine, we can see this as a sacred moment for all humankind. Many have observed that our species seems to be in an adolescent stage, where we have wonderful toys that we have not used responsibly. Could this be the moment when we will emerge from an enforced quietude of initiation to enter collectively into a new phase of young adulthood? Perhaps we are being led to a spiritual crossroads of sorts where we must seek our inner guidance in order to come into our full creative powers.

Just like the caterpillar in the cocoon, having eaten 25 times our weight in natural resources, humanity finds itself in a dark place where the world we know appears to be coming apart. The caterpillar’s transformation is automatically guided by the imaginal cells that shape its future of beauty and grace. We are called to be those imaginal cells – not operating automatically, but consciously.

Let us take this moment of uncertainty and isolation as a spiritual call to go within and listen deeply. This could be a period when our powers of individual discernment are actually heightened – not to empower our caterpillar selves to continue the old patterns of overconsumption and self-concern, but to find our way into a new world of sunshine where we have wings we could never have anticipated.

It is important not to rush the moment, as every birth or life passage has its natural time. Right now, the world has come together in heightened emotions of pain, fear and grief, but also in compassion, love and communion. We must take this global pause between worlds to allow the shifts in our body, mind and spirit, while trusting that beyond lies a future where a new level of truth will be revealed.

We will be ready to fly.

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