When we are tired of hearing of Coronavirus and are weary of the brokenness of our world. Where do we turn? I’m seeing two main responses to this. Some of my friends are feeling the reality of what a pandemic like this could mean for all of us. They anxiously scan every news article in an effort to stay informed. They are stocking up on supplies and wondering if they should go into self-quarantine. Then there is another group that is calling out loudly that it is probably fake news. Media hysteria. People are panicking and it’s ridiculous. They lightly toss around comments that it only affects the elderly and immune compromised, so what is there to fear? I have some burning questions on my mind with that. What about caring for the vulnerable? Could we stop and remember for a minute just how close the vulnerable and weak are to God’s heart? As Jesus followers, shouldn’t that be a big concern?
Can we afford to take it lightly? Even if you think it’s all media coverage and fear-mongering and a masking of other agendas. What if you are wrong? Frankly I don’t know, but for the sake of humanity I am willing to take precautions. For love of our fellow human beings, especially those who are elderly or immune compromised, let’s bear this burden together. As a side note, WHO has characterized it as a pandemic. The fast spread of it is alarming. Hospitals generally don’t have empty beds in ICU to start with. It is going to take a universal effort to act responsibly in order to help level off the steep increase of cases.
Let’s not panic and be fearful. Let’s not let our anxieties drive us and control us. However, let’s also consider our neighbors in this, and be wise. Let’s love. When Jesus encountered contagious diseases, He didn’t withdraw, He didn’t minimize. He loved. He healed. He touched people. If you identify as a Jesus follower may I challenge you to rise up and do that? What are some practical suggestions? I’d say you could stock up on toilet paper to hand out, but since everyone seems to have that covered already why don’t we connect with one another. Have a conversation and really care about how the other person is doing regarding COVID-19. Are they fearful? Are they at risk? Do they have family at risk? Meet them where they are at and care about the current feelings and emotions they may be experiencing. This is a time that Jesus’ Church can rise up and love well in the midst of so much unknown and fear. We can’t love well if we keep calling it conspiracy and make a joke out of it. That doesn’t make anyone’s panic attack go away. If your neighbor is sick, whether coronavirus or seasonal flu, grab some groceries (don’t forget toilet paper) and drop it off at their door. See if they need something done for them. Or if they are up to it just call them up and chat awhile. Serve others with compassion.
I don’t know what impact this will have on the community I live in throughout the coming weeks and months. There are rumblings about factories closing because they are not getting supplies in from China right now. As much as I struggle with the working conditions and lack of workers rights in factories here, the closing of factories, even temporary closure, is going to be difficult for many of my friends in this community. I think about that and I worry for them and their families. When you live day to day with little to no excess, you also don’t have the resources to stock up on supplies, especially not toilet paper. Okay I need to let that one go. It’s getting old, I know, but it’s funny from this side of the world where TP simply isn’t a household essential. When I think about possible quarantine I wonder, what would a quarantine look like here? Honestly I don’t know. It wouldn’t be fun and I don’t know that it is possible in a community where most of life is lived outside. The only thing my neighbors do inside their little one room house is sleep. Cooking, laundry, and socializing all happen outside that tiny little room.
Then I think about the refugee camps around the world. The chaos that will happen in places like that if an outbreak occurs is not going to be good. Places where living conditions are cramped and we have people living almost on top of each other are at high risk for infection. Breathe a prayer for protection in those places today.
Whether there are major things being hidden in the political world or not. Whether this hysteria is founded or not. Whether this is the end of our world as we have known it or not. Please, please, let’s use this time to love well. To care. To extend beyond ourselves. It’s selfish and not at all Christ-like to be aloof and uncaring at a time when much of the world is fearing the worst. I hardly wanted to weigh in on this as there is so much I don’t know and don’t understand, and for better or worse I jumped in anyway. I am aware the situation continues to change by the minute and new information keeps on coming in. But that’s not the point. My desire is that I would love those close to me well. In fear and in sickness. Whatever comes. As for me, I’m going to ditch the toilet paper investments and cling to the Prince of Peace.
I’ve seen different articles and friends share on how CS Lewis’ essay in 1948 ‘On Living in an Atomic Age’ can be applicable during this time with COVID-19. I found it a good reminder for me. Look it up if you have a chance. It brings good perspective and balance. I’ll close out with an excerpt from it.
“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”
— “On Living in an Atomic Age” CS Lewis 1948