Updated 18 March: Services Suspended during Coronavirus Precautions on Archbishops’ advice, but Prayer available in Church, see https://www.facebook.com/allsaintsmadeley/photos/a.949576348405323/3350815404948060/?type=3¬if_id=1584627158845577¬if_t=page_post_reaction
As I write, there is much uncertainty about the outbreak of the Coronavirus – nobody quite knows where it will impact and when it will end?
Clearly following the official advice is where we should all start – handwashing, self-isolation when needed, good personal hygiene and so on. But there is a more fundamental issue of our care for one another and especially those who are most vulnerable.
A clergy colleague shared the following prayer with me which is a very good place to start:
Dear God our Shield and our Defender, guide and protect my neighbour in this time of health emergency; deliver them from all harm and may your love and care ever grow in this place. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
… may your love and care grow in this place!
As Christians we are called to “love our neighbours as ourselves” which means thinking about who is vulnerable and how we can each play our part. The telephone in these circumstances is a God-sent for keeping in touch – a friendly voice at the end of the phone can be a great encouragement to someone who is worried. A smile, even on the phone can bring cheer. Visiting can be problematic but we can all pick up the phone.
Sadly, there is much fear mongering and it is crucial that we DON’T demonise anyone or any group. Pulling together is what’s going to get as through this not pointing the finger of blame.
We all need to take SENSIBLE precautions but panic buying and hoarding goods, when there is plenty to go around, is very unhelpful and may put others at risk. Practising the Christian discipline of sharing is vital and asking your neighbours what they need instead of filling your own cupboards with “just in case”.
Living life to the full has always been the Christian way. None of us knows what the future holds. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenged his followers to live each day fully and NOT be afraid. Every time we are tempted to give in to fear we need to make a conscious choice to respond in trust and openness.
Life can be worrying but we are not alone, and we can equally make a difference to our neighbours even through tough times.
Happy Easter to you and your family.