Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

April 12, 2020: Bearing Witness to God

From Ray McGinnis

One of the few welcome side effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the halt to much economic activity is a marked decrease in air pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that about seven million people die each year from the cumulative effects of exposure to fine particles of pollution in vehicle exhaust, from power plants, and other sources. In Boston, the air pollution levels have decreased by 20% in just two weeks. This is due to a corresponding drop in vehicle traffic in the greater Boston area by 50%, and a drop of 75% in airline traffic at Logan International Airport.

Concurrently, the Trump administration in late March decided to relax environmental rules regarding air and water pollution, which means the pollution levels once the pandemic has ended may exceed previous levels.

In Canada, a CBC report concluded that, “Physical distancing has eased rush hour congestion — and is clearing the air as well.” Levels of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had plunged as the burning of fossil fuels has decreased. NO2 is a cause of asthma and a variety of other illnesses. Environmental groups are urging governments to learn from the drop in pollution levels during the pandemic and create more clean technology going forward. Electric vehicles, public transit – including subways and light rail – solar and wind power are on the top of many wish lists for a greener planet.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Henry, the chief health officer for British Columbia, commends the greater population for practicing social distancing and refraining from non-essential trips out of the home. She said in a press briefing on March 31 that about 95% of the population have been practicing social distancing.

Explore…John 20:1–18

  • What did Mary Magdalene discover when she went to the tomb where Jesus was buried?
  • What did Simon Peter tell her? What did Jesus tell her?
  • How might this story be good news for us today during the coronavirus pandemic?
  • What are some of the sources of despair in our world today?
  • Does it help to know that air and water pollution levels are decreasing, which might lead to a corresponding decrease in deaths due to pollution?
  • What stories of new life and joy can you point to in the midst of troubling news headlines?

Prayer links…
Oh God of resurrection life, you removed the stone from the tomb and the linen strips wrapping Jesus are lying on the ground. Help us notice signs of new life, even in a world that reminds us of sickness, death, and calamity. In Christ we pray. Amen.

Read more…
“Amid Coronavirus pandemic, air pollution declines in Boston and elsewhere”
“Air pollution eases in 4 Canadian cities as pandemic measures keep people home”

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