Last year I wrote my Witness for Justice column as the world shut down. I remember struggling to write about celebrating the empty tomb and singing Alleluias in a world that reflected back not joy but sorrow. I was reminded then of why we choose faith over and over, often when it seems hopeless. Those tendrils of faith anchored and held me fast through the chaos of the year. Now, as a miraculously quick vaccine rolls out to many, we can see the possibility of a world beyond the pandemic.
I am hopeful, though, that our rebuilding doesn’t just copy our past. That in our haste to erect normalcy (whatever that means) we don’t slide back into “how it’s always been done,” with our collective muscle memory pulling us away from a more inclusive and just future.
Let’s instead allow ourselves to examine this world with Easter imagination, believing in a risen Savior whose bedrock principle is love for one another. How might a world built with love as its cornerstone operate?
Let’s imagine a world of abundance where countries and companies don’t horde vaccines but share them freely, realizing that our health relies on that of our neighbor, both across the street and across the world. As office buildings stand empty, could we redesign our collective spaces so no one goes without a home and a roof over their head? Could we imagine a society that no longer allows for and accepts that one in six kids goes hungry while billionaires grew their net worth collectively by nearly 1 trillion dollars during the pandemic. Let’s not be so quick to dismantle our Covid-safe infrastructures that we overlook the accessibility they created for many: conferences and classrooms, comedy shows and open mikes offered online have made community and culture available to those unable to physically leave their homes or be in those spaces.
One of the things I’ve been astonished by this year is the resilience of humanity, our ability to grow and adapt to circumstance in crisis. But like a rubber band pulled taunt, as soon as the pressure leaves it bounces back. Before accepting that we’ll automatically be pulled back, we can make a choice to incorporate new practices of inclusion and equity, with an outlook of abundance rather than scarcity.
My hope is that we allow ourselves the space to both universally and individually imagine a world restored, and what that might be for each of us. Repeat over and over the words of Aurora Levins Morales and her poem “V’ahavta,” saying “Another world is possible.”
Katie Adams is the Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues for the United Church of Christ.