A bat infects a rat with Covid-19, a virus more powerful than any oppressive political leader, grips us in exile from one another through self or imposed isolation. We are unable to touch people whom we love. We are taken from jobs that provide financial security. We are unable to pray and socialize in ways that nourish us. The simple and meaningful gesture of a handshake, a hug or kiss put our lives in peril.
During our Covid-19 pandemic, I appreciate more fully the plight of the Israelites of Hebrew Scripture. As they leave Egypt and cross the barren desert for forty years, they are led by Shekhinah, the Divine Feminine Presence of God. Shekhinah, the Hebrew Word for dwelling or settling, denotes the Divine Feminine in our midst. She first appears in the Book of Genesis, especially present at certain times and in certain situations of dire hardship and exile. Shekhinah is associated with the wind and the Spirit of Wisdom Sophia, the equivalent of the Holy Spirit in our Christian tradition. Might they have sung as we have today, "(Sing) Wandering and lost in this desert, we behold Your mystery and might, Holy Presence that forms clouds of glory by day and a pillar of fire by night" (Exodus 13:21)?
The Israelites carry Shekhinah in their hearts and within the Ark of the Covenant. She is present during their worship, prayer and study of Hebrew scripture. When the Israelites finally arrive in the promised land, Shekhinah is there, too, including in their synagogues. She is woven into every aspect of their spiritual and religious lives.
"All natures, all forms, all creatures exist in and with one another," says the Savoir, one of his last teachings according to the Gospel of Mary (2:2). In the Gospel of John, Jesus assures his companions that after he leaves God will gift them with the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete - Advocate and Spirit of Truth. How?
"You'll know that I am in God, and you are in me and I am in you (John: 14: 20). Is this new language for the Holy Trinity? The Trinity in Jesus' knowing is not a straight line: Father, Son and Holy Spirit - two men and a dove.
For me, Jesus evokes the image that we are intimately interwoven; perhaps, three, Divine, dancing energies and three voices, as in a helix of DNA or a spiral (show Trinity Spiral and Trinity gesture). Thus, we have many ways to be in relationship with the Divine ... and we are part of this Trinity!
Again in the Gospel of Mary, Jesus teaches, "... and they will resolve again into their own roots (2:3)," In this Gospel, "roots" relates to "the good" or our own Divine nature. We see examples of this around the world with the current movement "Black Lives Matter". From an outrageous atrocity - the murder of a black man, George Floyd by a white police officer, we witness all races rising up in solidarity for "the good" on behalf of the unheard and the injustice of racism.
In these times of our exile by Covid-19, when Black Lives Matter and when all our lives matter, nothing seems like it once was and will likely never again be. We can rely on Shekhinah, knit within the configuration of the Trinity, as a stable force who sustains and connects, who gives clarity to be in right relationship, and who helps advocate for justice, even if this has to be at a safe distance from one another. She will dwell within each of us and together on our journey out of exile!
(Sing) Shekhinah, Shekhinah. Your power enfolds us, surrounds and upholds us. Shekhinah, Shekhinah.