Our Christian faith tells us that we are capable of great things. We know that under the right circumstances we can go far and accomplish the incredible. But what about in challenging times? What about today as we face the onset of the coronavirus?
We believe that we can do these great things together, even in the face of adversity because Jesus tells us "I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Having heard that the spread of COVID-19 has reached the pandemic stage, it's time for Christians and all people of good will to step up and put our best selves forward to care for one another.
Unfortunately, in times of crisis, we see both - people at their best and people at their worst. Let's aim for the former, becoming the best version of ourselves. But how? I offer the following:
There are lots of reports out there: newscasts, newspapers, TV talk shows, podcasts, radio talk and people's personal blogs. At times like this, it's important to focus on the facts. All reports are not equal in value and some words can actually cause more harm and anxiety than relieve it. For the best information, follow the developments on the Center for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov.
In the technological age, we have grown accustomed to instant words, instant reactions, and instant answers. We have already seen that there will be nothing instant about dealing with this virus, except that people are infected and affected rather quickly. Our response needs to be measured, calm and careful. It's better to remain calm, breathe and think through how to deal with the matters at hand as they arise rather than try to find the quick fix, which can actually do more damage. Looking ahead and having a plan is also helpful.
With all the talk about quarantine and self-isolation, we may be persuaded to remove ourselves and let someone else deal with the issues caused by the virus. Depending on our health status, and our state in life, everyone can do something - even just call an elderly friend or relative to check in. Imagine how things would be so much better if each of us was motivated every day even to do just one thing for someone else.
Pandemics can cause a great amount of need quickly, with what seems to be little or no relief in sight. We are called to first manage expectations - our own and those of others - as to what each of us can realistically do. Clarity in our role will help each member of our community to do what one can, without overextending.
As the days become weeks and the weeks become months, response fatigue will surely kick in, especially for those who have jumped in fully. For people of faith, our strength is in the Lord. Take time each day to pray, to read God's word, to receive the Eucharist, and to connect to God, the ultimate source of our energy.
Christians, by nature, are community people. The rapid spread of this virus throughout the world has clearly demonstrated that we are connected to our brothers and sisters in countries near and far. It also underlines that our faith will have no boundaries, geographic or otherwise. As we connect with one another in these days, we can also be connected to those who may not have the same opportunity or resources.
No doubt we have heroes among us - from the health care provider, to the first responder, to the scientists working on discovering the vaccine, to the family member caring for a sick relative or friend. All of us are called to greatness in these days, and that greatness will manifest itself in service. Everyone cannot do everything, but all of us can do something.
Finally, the Scriptures remind us to be strong and courageous. God's word tells us clearly to not be afraid or terrified because the LORD our God goes with us; he will never leave us nor forsake us.
Let's trust in those words and do the best we can, for one another, with God's help.