We are currently facing a crisis we have not faced in our lifetime. How are we to think and what are we to do? We can find many opinions on the subject, but I want to address the crisis in a certain way. This is not an exhaustive view and does not negate the necessity of paying attention to recommendations by the CDC.
The early church faced many obstacles. It was illegal to be a Christian until Constantine made it legal sometime in the 300s. Despite opposition and periods of intense persecution, the early church went about taking care of the sick and rescuing girl babies left to die of exposure. In most of the world today, being a Christian makes every day uncertain. We, in the West, live in a rare period of history.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (CSB)
It is easy for us to forget that our lives are threatened every day. It does not seem probable to most of us, so we have an illusion of control. But, what is different about this current threat? How is it similar to the threats we face every day?
We are threatened daily, but this definitely feels different. Why? Well, there is the unending news cycle talking about little else. This works both in our favor, by supplying much-needed information, but all the talking causes a great deal of anxiety. Also, we are ALL in this together. The usual diseases and illnesses we face, generally do not face everyone, everywhere, at once. Therefore, we have shared striving as we face the unknown that is ahead of us. I think the fear that we are a threat to each other might be the worst.
We are threatened daily, but how is this the same as the usual threats? Trouble is always with us. Life has many seasons of striving, grieving, and hardship. This is one of those seasons, and maybe it will be one of the worst seasons. While we may not be mindful of the threats we face daily, we are aware of our limits today. We are called today and every day to trust God. This is true today and will be true tomorrow.
So, what does it mean to trust God? We are confronted with the reality that trusting God does not mean this epidemic will miraculously vanish. History would teach us this. At every turn in our lives, we must wrestle with the fact that bad stuff still happens. Does this mean God is untrustworthy? No. Does this mean God does not love me, want my best, or has abandoned me? No. God is still with me. He will be with me every day I walk this earth. Seeking Him and practicing His presence is something we must continue to do in both the good times and the hard times. This is something we can ignore when we have the illusion of control. When that image has disappeared, we reach out to Him. Let us learn to lean heavily on Him during this trying time, but let us make it a part of our being so that it continues in the good times
Finally, back to the verse at hand. We in the church are the light of the world. During this time, light the lamp and let it shine. As the church, we are called to live regenerated lives. We are called to help those who need our help, who need His help. How? Maybe you have some extra time on your hands. You can pray. Pray for those you love, and for those you know about, and those you have no idea about. Preach the gospel. Pray for His Spirit to be poured out on us. This the time to rise up and be the hands and feet of Jesus. We do not know what we face, or for how long. Now is not the time to huddle in fear. Now is the time to be the church. I am not suggesting that you be unwise. I am suggesting that you reach out in any manner you can to help those affected. One of the things we will face is financial difficulty. As people are quarantined, many are not earning a paycheck. If you have a little nest egg put away, maybe this is what you were saving for. Every community and every church has a way you can contribute to those in need. Now is the time, this is the hour. Be the church.