Red swirling tails overtaking the ripples of clear water. Ribbons of crimson twirling quietly, in this silent moment. A secret flood, a hushed wave, a hidden current rolling smoothly beneath the surface. All by herself, she watches the scarlet dance. Entranced by the simple beauty in the water. Hypnotized by the simple horror of the blood.

The 17th chapter of John’s Gospel has been given the unofficial title of the High Priestly Prayer. The whole chapter contains the words of an intimate prayer between the Son of God and our Heavenly Father. A prayer that happens on the night in which he was betrayed, the very night he knows that his disciples will all abandon him, they will be scattered and afraid as he begins the horrible trials of suffering and betrayal that culminate in his crucifixion on that fateful Friday afternoon.

Bureaucracies in all forms, shapes and sizes have one thing in common, they try and control variables. I don’t think it matters if you are speaking about the federal government or your local city council or, for that matter, your congregational governance, if there is a bureaucracy it has a set of parameters and objectives which give it purpose. They have a specific goal in mind for the organization and a big part of what they must do is control all the variables that might impinge upon that goal.

Fear is all around us, and perhaps more pronounced today than in the past. There has been a lot of discussion about the decisions, impositions, and implications resulting from the intense fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Whichever side of these debates you fall on, there’s one important question that, as Christians, we perhaps aren’t asking ourselves enough…why are we afraid? I understand why those outside of the Church fear the suffering and death this plague brings, but why do we?

When the Church cannot meet as it is in the habit of doing, when we resort to prerecorded messages and electronic means of staying connected, when the very house of worship built by the faithful is emptied out, it causes us to think beyond the effects of a virus and the desire to protect the vulnerable.