What does it mean to respond, “faithfully?”
Everyday we are faced with new questions, new concerns, new issues and problems in this world and many of us – certainly I am – are left asking how to respond in a way that reflects our deepest held understandings of faith.
The rising concern over the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is no different. While many may debate in terms of the extremes: where some argue this is a pandemic in the making and others say it is an overblown, nonevent, experience has shown that vulnerable populations have been disproportionately affected. How may we faithfully respond in this hour of need?
You church leaders have already begun to address this:
- Our worship commission is studying and making recommendations on modest changes in worship that would limit the transmission of illness (any illness);
- One recommendation is to limit physical contact as we pass the peace. Expressing signs of the peace and acknowledging our neighbor without shaking hands, or even touching elbows, into which we have been taught now to cough when ill;
- We will also be addressing the act of communion itself to protect our members’ health;
- Our Agape ministry is taking boxed meals on Wednesday to our guests in Elizabeth to ensure we limit the likelihood of bringing this virus to a community that is often immuno-compromised;
- We will continue to identify and address issues as we better understand this illness and its potential impact on our local community, being diligent without being alarmist.
Our response would be incomplete without prayers, and this is something that our entire church community can help carry out.
Great Physician, Lord and Keeper of Peace, we pray for the world and all in it. Watch over all who are ill this day, including those who have been touched by COVID-19. For those ill, we pray. For those who have passed, and especially for those they leave behind, we pray. For those who are most vulnerable to come in contact with this illness, we pray. For those to whom this illness presents the greatest danger, we pray. For all whose anxiety and worry has been triggered by this troubling news, we pray; and for all whose livelihoods have been hurt due to its spread, we pray. Come, Holy Spirit, come and let all with faith be a presence of calm in this trying time, and a source of peace for all. Amen.
And for any who need a moment of humor in this tense time, I commend this PSA from the Vietnamese Government, found here.