For A Time Such As This…
Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down,
but an encouraging word brings him joy. Proverbs 12:25
Sickness and economic distress cover the headlines right now. This has left a space for a kind of uncertainty that affects every single person in our communities. They are not sure what to believe, what choices to make, or how the situation could affect their work and family. It is only our response, connected to our understanding of Jesus Christ, that can enrich our communities with love, peace and comfort; rather than anxiety, fear and distrust.
God calls us to follow his word in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). There has to be an intellectual cognisance to the potential dangers of the situation, but not worry. In Proverbs 12:5a God lays out the truth in that “The plans of the righteous are just”.
What plans should we, who dare to be imprinted by the life of Christ, have? To love our neighbours as ourselves, we need to calmly prepare to be able to assist those who could potentially be in need. Prayer is a direct conduit to that preparation and we need to be a house or houses of prayer right now, to be ready. God will reveal himself. When the early Christians faced crisis in their communities, they laid down their lives. They gave what they had to assist the most vulnerable; the widows and the orphans. We may want to ask the question “How can support the common good?”
Even if this does not grow into a major crisis for me and my community, what is the Jesus response to all this? Whether we believe this illness will be wide sweeping or not, people are already being affected. Christians need to be wise and compassionate, and at all costs, avoid judgement. In our walk with God, there is never any room for panic, but there is room for preparation. These are significantly different responses to a potential situation, but does require some sort of action, along with words.
Jesus always approached people with compassion and extended his healing power every time people came to him. Word and deed. The inspiration of the Spirit and the touch of Christ. This moment in time could present us with the opportunity to observe and participate in God’s love and miraculous power like never before, but as in the example of Christ, it will come will suffering. Redemption and suffering are so closely linked, and we should be prepared to share joy in the suffering of Christ, because it will open us to a greater understanding of who He truly is.
The following questions may be helpful:
What could we do pragmatically, whether this illness greatly affects our community’s health or not?
What can we do to support our community in the spiritual matters regarding the present circumstance?
What kind of legacy do we wish to leave behind in this particular time?
Here are some information sources
World Health Organization: https://www.who.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.
Coronavirus: Inform and Prepare Your Organization (Article from CCCC):
Ideas and Suggestions for HCs during Covid-19
- “How to support kids during a pandemic”. Primary suggestions are “Be communicative”, “Be available”, “Be grounded”, “Be reassuring”, “Be empowering”, “Be predictable”, “Be creative”. Check out this link > https://gemmastone.org/how-to-support-kids-during-a-pandemic/
- Small gatherings like HCs are still approved, and we need a sense of community now more than ever, but each house church in the Edge network will need to decide its own protocol moving forward, with respect and freedom given to each person and family regarding their own decisions about gathering with others.
- If you continue to meet, we recommend developing and following wise and proper precautions, with the host of the HC leading the way (ie. House rules). Common protocol and information is available on our website – click here.
- If some or all of the people in your HC decide not to join the gathering, use social media and online platforms to connect with people (Zoom, What’s App video, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, etc). They are all free to use and easy to set up. We can help if needed.
- NEIGHBOURHOOD PODS: A highly localized group of neighbours offering virtual supports to one another via Phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, etc. It’s happening in cities across Canada during Covid-19. Just click here for a link to a description of Neighbourhood Pods.
- NEIGHBOURS HELPING NEIGHBOURS: The city of Calgary has put together ideas about how we can help each other no matter what city you are from. Just click here for a link to a copy of their publication Neighbours Helping Neighbours.
- Several people are being more intentional these days about connecting with others. They have set up regular (ie. Weekly) calls with one or two people to stay in touch and check up on one another. They are also PRAYING together for the Pandemic to end, and for those most severely affected by it. Is there someone you can be prayer partners with for this season?
- Some Save-on Foods stores have been bringing in special packaged cans of hand sanitizer. One family bought a few of them and offered them to their neighbours.
- Several HC members are initiating What’s App groups with their communities and neighbourhoods so they can be available to them.
- Neighbourhood Pods – we mentioned this before and they are catching on in cities across Canada (click here for more info). Check to see if there are any in your community, or start one.
- To stay mentally healthy and strong (from Calgary Sun):
- Decide on a routine and stick to it. For instance, wake up at the same time every morning.
- When you get up, get dressed and make your bed. That way you have accomplished two things, and you won’t be tempted to go back to bed.
- Get dressed in a way as though you’re going to be interacting with people. That doesn’t mean you need to put on a suit and tie or stockings and high heels, but it does mean you shouldn’t wear stained sweat pants either.
- Create a to-do list, even if it’s as small as taking the recycling to the blue bin, and phoning a couple of people, or writing a few notes
- Instead of looking at this like a bad thing or a scary thing, you want to reframe this time as an opportunity to do something that you always wanted to do and didn’t have the time.
- By all means stay informed by reading the newspaper and watching the news but don’t keep the 24-hour news channel on all day.
- Use your time in isolation to learn everything you always wanted to: free online courses, audio books, eBooks, movies, etc.
- Don’t spend too much time on social media. There’s a lot of fear mongering out there that is not helpful.
- Do use technology, however, to stay in touch with others. Telephone or video call family and friends rather than text. Zoom works well.
- Help those whom you know are alone and may need help.