You would have to be completely media free, not to be aware that there is a worldwide situation concerning the Corona Virus. Identified cases and deaths increase daily, including now in the US.
As a church, we have rightly turned our attention to ways to keep our members safe. If you have not seen the article written by Garrett Guillozet, a public health official and clergy spouse, you might want to read it at https://www.westohioumc.org/conference/news/intersection-local-churches-and-coronavirus Or go to the Ohio Health webpage at https://blog.ohiohealth.com/
But now I wonder if it is not time to turn our attention outward. As with any natural disaster, as the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to our neighbors, our community, and the world.
There are many unknowns in our current situation. All indications are that the risk to individuals in Ohio is still small. However, there are things that we do know.
1. Caution will cause many of our elderly to curtail their activities. Are there folks in your congregation or in your community that could use help getting groceries, medicines, and other supplies? How can your church help?
2. Should schools and business shut down, even for short periods of time, the people that will be hurt the most are the ones that can least afford it. Can your church gear up to help with rent, utilities, and food for those in need? Without trying to create new ministries quickly are there other churches or organizations near you that are already set up to provide services? How can you and your church help them? If you don’t know of organizations in your area, call our Capitol Area North or South offices and we will help connect you to a place where you can help.
3. You are not alone! If you need help don’t be afraid to ask for it. It is better to call a friend or your pastor if you are sick and need help than to go out into the community to possibly infect others.
“Do not be afraid” appears 47 times in the Old Testament and 21 times in the New Testament. There is no doubt that the news coming at us everyday is fear producing and we need to take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves and our families. But as Christ followers, we also need to remember the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). People walked by the man in need out of fear – fear of getting too involved, fear of contamination, fear of interrupting their own lives.
At all times we need to be good neighbors but especially in times of crisis. As we make our own preparations, let us not forget to be good neighbors for those without our own resources. In the book of Acts, when the apostles conquered their fear and went out into the community creating “many signs and wonders” Luke reports that “the people held them in high esteem” and that many believers were added to their community.
May God help us to be that kind of witness to our communities in the next few months.