“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

I find it difficult to listen to these words from today’s psalm without glancing at the latest headlines about the spread of Omicron across our country. This new wave of the virus, though likely less deadly, seems poised to overtake Delta and drive infection rates through the roof. For those of us looking to celebrate Christmas with family and in our local congregations, the timing could not be worse.

“O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.”

It certainly feels as if God has been angry with our prayers; whether because of polarization or misinformation or the rancorous political climate, our country continues to be underprepared for the spread of Covid-19. Ours has become the single country with the highest death toll due to this coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Over and over again, with each new wave, we find ourselves caught off guard, taken by surprise, and driven further apart politically. Unfortunately, that is exactly what this virus needs to thrive.

“You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.”

I do not have any special insight into how this all can be fixed, but I do know that we must mourn the loss of our international political standing, the power that we were so accustomed to when dealing with both partners and adversaries, and the pride we held in being an example for other nations to follow. I do not believe that being such things is necessarily part of our Christian calling, but nevertheless we must mourn them, because they are things that we have taken for granted and are now losing.

“You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!”

We cannot go back to what life was like before Covid. While our nation has been in decline for some time now (some would say since 2003), Covid in many ways feels like the death knell of the period of time that I grew up in, when the United States was seen as the single world power that could dictate the laws of international relations to other countries around the globe. Similarly, the impotence of the President Biden administration to undo so much of the corrosion of our national and international political standing leads many like me to believe that, regardless of whether or not Donald Trump gets re-elected in 2024, Trumpism is here to stay. Like the virus that has become endemic in our country, polarization and the breaking of political norms appear to be here to stay.

“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

Today I do not have any answers, other than grief, and perhaps a prayer for God to act.

Peter Levenstrong is Associate Rector at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Having grown up non-religious, he enjoys bringing “a fresh pair of eyes” to explore the Christian tradition, and is particularly interested in the intersection of faith and justice. You can find him online on Twitter at @_Rev_Lev. 

Follow us on social media
Notify me of new articles and posts
Select from this list

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café