Viral Theology #5 – Horses in Tinsel

This surreal situation continues. Over the weekend my household was surprised when the dog starting barking and we heard a commotion outside. There hasn’t been much outside noise these last couple of weeks. Garbage has been collected (thankfully) and a few delivery vehicles have driven through the neighbourhood. Kids are occasionally in the street playing basketball or hockey. There are more walkers out during the day than usual, but there isn’t much going on. The barking and commotion had us all running to the front windows.

What we saw were horses and few ponies. They were wearing tinsel leftover from Christmas. Some of their riders had dressed up like Easter bunnies . . . or were just wearing their weird movie-watching onesies with western boots. Neighbours were popping out of their houses and waving from their driveways. It was a (very) miniature parade all neatly spaced. Nobody was throwing candy, but it was enough to make everyone smile.

Today I made a grocery run. It was much more somber. We’ve been told that some returning ‘snowbirds’ have crossed the border from the US, declined to observe the appropriate 14 day quarantine and, instead, swarmed grocery stores in our part of the province. It’s somewhat understandable: they were probably coming home to bare cupboards and their dollars go further here than south of the border. Yet it’s hard not to think of all the places those folks stopped on their way back from Florida before alighting at our grocery.

I’m writing viral theology, so there’s no missing the obvious biblical link. The biblical writers knew very well the many ways we are connected. The Apostle Paul, assisting faith communities as he did, made much of this. He was particularly concerned with the church, but the logic applies similarly to our larger communities. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul writes: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” And further on in the chapter says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”

I do think some attacks on individualism go too far. Being part of the body means we need to have something to contribute. We need a sense of who we are as individuals. We need a sense of our own self. That said, the slapdash notion that we can make our own choices without considering the effect they on others is naïve and unrealistic. We see that now more than ever. The reality is that we are all connected. My family was encouraged by the mini-parade over the weekend. In part by the sight of it, and in part by the simple fact that the people who made it happen exist. It was a wonderfully wonky and unique thing to do. It’s good to be connected to people like that.

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