Mark A. Flessner ’80 M.Div.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I write this reflection sitting in my corner office at City Hall in Chicago on the first day of a city-wide government shut down. The Loop is like a ghost town, and the City’s legal department, over which I have the honor of presiding, is empty, all 450 employees “teleworking” for their own safety.

The sentence, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” is particularly poignant in the middle of a global pandemic, which has no end in sight. Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember that Jesus is with us always, especially in times of disaster.

In the United States, we are an independent people and do not generally rely on each other. We live by the motto that God helps those who help themselves; yet, in the face of a global pandemic, we are connected by our humanity. In this case, God helps those who help each other by not putting each other at risk. We are connected, indeed, tethered, to each other by our humanity.

We now face this crisis spreading across the globe connected by our humanity. No one is immune. In all likelihood, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people will die worldwide, and, of course, it will inflict its heaviest toll upon the poorest and most vulnerable.

In a global crisis during which we are isolated and alone, I remember that Jesus is with us always. I pray that he is and helps us find the strength and the science to get through this pandemic. Even as officials are relaxing social distancing requirements and stay at home orders around the country, we can still make the sacrifice to limit our movements for the sake of those who are most vulnerable to this disease. May God keep you and yours safe, and remember: Stay home. Save lives.