This week, I write from Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Our country’s COVID infection rates are off the charts, and our state has one of the highest rates in the country. One of my jobs at the moment is hospital chaplain, and I have the honor and the stress of seeing the pandemic reality close-up on a regular basis.

Around here, the response to the virus has been highly politicized. Leaders of differing political parties are undermining each other’s authority to the point that no consistent pandemic response is possible. The whole situation makes me want to cry out for new leadership! For someone who puts the lives and the health of the people first.

Enter Reign of Christ Sunday. This week’s lectionary texts describe a king who wants all his subjects to be fed, clothed, and housed. We meet a shepherd who brings the sheep to good pasture and seeks out any who are lost. This kind of leadership prioritizes the needs of the weakest in the community, rather than lifting up the reputations of the powerful. The image of Jesus as a just ruler makes a refreshing contrast to many of today’s political leaders. How can we be faithful followers, and emulate that model of leadership in our communities?

As with any combination of lectionary texts, there are countless options for preaching this week. Perhaps you will focus on Ephesians, giving thanks for the faithful in your prayers. This passage seems particularly appropriate for US communities that will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the coming week. Or maybe you will focus on the Psalm, and singing praises to God!

This Friday is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. You can find resources many places online, though GLAAD is a good place to start. Even if your community doesn’t do a separate service for TDOR, perhaps you could include a petition in the prayers this Sunday, or a message for the children about respecting all people and their self-identification.

Please share your ideas for preaching, prayers, children’s time, liturgies, and anything else in the comments below! And also, please, wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and whenever possible, just stay home. I’d really rather not meet you in person during my next chaplaincy shift. Be healthy, everyone.

Katya Ouchakof is a chaplain and paddlesports professional, two jobs that don’t let her work from home. She has an ever-growing collection of masks, and is particularly fond of the one made of Star Wars fabric. Katya posts book reviews and inspiration at her blog.

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