We’ve made it through the first full week of the new (hopefully temporary) reality. How is everybody doing? To be honest, I think that even those of us who are somewhat asocial are struggling a bit. It’s a good time to remind ourselves that those who are more social must be almost feeling caged. Now the experts are warning us that this could go on for weeks and get much worse before it gets better. And things are changing so rapidly. By the time you read this there may be parts that are out of date.
What can we do?
Firstly, we can stay as positive as possible. Notice the good news. For example, while the number of confirmed COVID19 cases nationally, provincially, locally, and globally continues to rise, we can look at the 14,000 negative test results in B.C., or the fact that the numbers in China are dropping.
Secondly, we can follow the advice of the provincial medical officer (Dr Bonnie Henry). This means hand washing. My hand washing frequency and thoroughness has increased greatly in the past week. It means keeping physical distance between yourself and others. Unfortunately this means that we are still not sure when we can meet again as a full congregation and we even need to forego small group meetings in person. The good news is that the more seriously we take it, the sooner it will be over. The more we ignore the instructions, the longer it will linger and the worse it will get. Patience will be more than a virtue here. It will be a necessity.
Third, we can, dare I say MUST, stay connected. I’ve been reading that we should stop using the term social distancing. Instead we should talk of physical distancing and social closeness. Phone, FaceTime, or at least text at least two people every day. If you can get outside in the lovely weather we’ve been having, do it. Walk with each other. Do it side by side in pairs. You may be working from home, but remember those who may be facing layoffs, or may even have already experienced layoffs. You may be spending time with your close family. Remember those who don’t have that ability for whatever reason. You may still be able to get around. Remember those who are immunocompromised and can’t risk going outdoors at all right now.
Fourth, continue to pray.
Pray for those who are feeling lonely. If you are open as you pray, God will let you know who you need to get in touch with.
Pray for those who have become ill, or have someone they know who is ill; for healing.
Pray for those who have already lost loved ones; for comfort.
Pray for those who are in isolation because they have been exposed, or can’t risk being exposed, the elderly, the immunosuppressed.
Pray for the medical professionals that are in the front lines, constantly being exposed and often being isolated from their loved ones so that they can care for ours.
Pray for those who are working to find medications that work and a vaccine, and for the people who are letting the vaccines be tested on them; that a vaccine and a cure is found quickly.
Pray for all those who have lost their jobs and are now possibly unable to make rent or food payments. Ask how and who you can help.
Pray for our government leaders and medical officers (Dr. Henry, Dr. Tam, and others); that they make wise decisions. It is not easy to be the face of a crisis and maintain calm.
Pray for our pastors. They will be called upon far more than normal for care and comfort.
Pray for the workers in the stores that are open. They also are risking their physical and psychological health, to ensure there is food and other necessities available for all of us through this.
Pray for yourself, for calmness, for patience.
Fifth, do something. When you talk to someone who’s shut in, ask if they need anything physical. They may not have a way to get groceries. Remember the homeless that we were to be sheltering this month. They are among the most vulnerable in this situation and likely need help with food more than ever. As much as you can, while staying safe, life life as normally as possible. Treat the people you meet with kindness. If you have not had financial worries, remember your tithe. Our pastors rely on us for their physical needs, just as we rely on them to meet our spiritual needs. You can give through the website, or arrange a monthly automatic withdrawal through the office, or bring an envelope to the church. We have a secure mail slot on the east (Lansdowne Ave) side.
We all need each other, now as much as ever, and our God is good, He hears our prayers. He lived our pain and He is never out of reach.