Several years ago, a team of rescuers helped an older couple evacuate their home after a hurricane. Their house, which the husband had helped build, was flooded. The wife had serious health problems that made their situation more perilous. And yet, they were smiling. One of the rescuers asked how they could stay positive in the midst of this difficult tragedy. The woman answered, “That storm can take my house, it can take my car, it can take my furniture and my pictures, but it can never take my spirit.”
Few of us know what it’s like to lose our possessions in a hurricane. But we have all been sharing a difficult experience that we will never forget. During this COVID-19 pandemic, our courage and endurance are being tested. Some have lost loved ones or livelihood. All have been reminded that the future can be uncertain, even scary at times.
Sometimes it takes a difficult shared experience to teach us that possessions and position do not define us and should not separate us. Our inherent worth, who we really are inside, remains permanent, unchanging. The spirit, the soul, is eternal. And it’s what makes us all part of the same human family.
Speaking before the United Nations in 1987, U.S. president Ronald Reagan said, “Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize [our] common bond.” He went on to suggest that if we faced such a global danger, “how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish.”
Well, we’re facing that kind of threat. And we’re learning that with all the damage a virus can do, it need not damage our spirit. In fact, the opposite is happening. We’ve mourned together. We’ve struggled together. We’ve become more aware of the needs of people around us—along with things we can do to help. And somehow, we’ve found hope that things will get better and we can find joy in our new normal.
No, life’s tragedies can never take our spirit if we don’t allow it—instead, such tragedies can actually make us stronger.
 See J. J. Watt, in “It’s Still OK to Laugh: How to Stay Optimistic during Difficult Times, According to Time 100 Leaders,” Time, Apr. 27–May 4, 2020, 64.
 In Samantha Power, “Threats Are Ahead. National Security Can’t Look Backward,” Time, Apr. 27–May 4, 2020, 64.
September 27, 2020 Our Common Bond
Broadcast Number 4,750
The Tabernacle Choir
and Orchestra at Temple Square
When in Our Music God is Glorified
English melody; arr. Emily Crocker
Look to the Day
Presto, from Concerto in F, op. 4, no. 5
George Frideric Handel
Consider the Lilies of the Field
Roger Hoffman; arr. A Laurence Lyon
I’ll Fly Away
Albert Brumley; arr. Sam Cardon
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
African-American Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg