From Ben, March 13, 2020
Take a second and breathe. Just breathe. Close your eyes, feel the air move throughout your body, and let the tension you’ve been holding onto go. Roll your neck, unclench your jaw, and refocus. What follows are words of peace.
Christians are not individuals who bury their heads in the sand and ignore reality when it is unfavorable. In fact, Christians have consistently been the people flocking to areas where others would not go. Historically, it was the Christians who went to the dying, who administered sacraments to the sick, and who cleaned the unwashed when no one else was willing.
Consider these words written by a colleague: “In the 250s A.D., the “Plague of Cyprian” swept through the Roman Empire, throwing civil institutions into chaos and even killing the Emperor. As panicked citizens fled to the countryside, afraid to even bury the dead, one group stayed behind to help: the Christians. According to Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, “most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy.” The dramatic contrast between the pagans’ paralysis and the Christians’ hope in Christ won countless converts to the faith.”
Now, I am not saying that you should participate in activities where you clearly feel unsafe. The last thing that I want is for you to think that your minister is asking for you to put yourself into harm’s way. Rather, I want you hear some pastoral comments:
1. Christian hope is ultimately rooted in God. It is this hope that provides confidence in the character of the God who creates, redeems, and sustains. God’s activity is not a past-tensed verb. God is present in the here and now.
2. Because of that, the staff at FCC is more than willing to help provide for your needs during this uncertain period. We will administer sacraments, sit with you, bring you food, etc. Feel free to call or text me at 815-592-5548 should you have any need.
3. Distract yourself, do something that is fun, and attempt to address your anxiety. CDC and dozens of other well-informed and well-practiced professionals are tirelessly working to provide us with the most updated information concerning the spread of COVID-19.
Thus, let us be people of the correct posture and not people of panic. Given all the information and practical steps we can take, the correct posture is essential. So, take some time to get acquainted with the steps we can take from handwashing and cleaning our surfaces, to noticing our own potential symptoms. We are not helpless.
Finally, you belong to God and God is with you immediately via the Holy Spirit and mediately via the Church. Should you feel alone, scared, or uncertain, do not let that snowball into a frenzy. We are here to provide as much as we can to make you feel seen and heard.
Just as God has promised to always be with us, so too the Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, lives to give that promise flesh and bone.