Pastor's Pen

COVID-19 and Faith

Posted on: Apr 14, 2020

Let’s begin with some facts.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus began in China in December and has now spread around the world. While often being referred to as “the coronavirus” in media reports, coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses that can affect animals or humans. They are named for their crown-like appearance when viewed under a microscope.

In humans, several coronaviruses cause respiratory infections such as the common cold. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), as described by the World Health Organization (WHO). The most recently discovered coronavirus—the one making headlines worldwide is called COVID-19.

There’s still much to be learned about COVID-19, but we do know that it spreads easily from person to person through respiratory droplets contained in sneezes, coughs or exhalations from an infected person. Although it’s thought that people are most contagious when they have symptoms, it’s possible that infected people who have mild cases or those who are asymptomatic can also spread the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms—fever, cough and shortness of breath—may occur as early as two days after exposure or as late as 14 days after someone’s initial exposure. Hence, the need for 2-week quarantines.

Because of the ease with which COVID-19 passes from person to person, the primary preventive measure is social distancing, which is causing massive upheavals—in the world’s societies and the global economy as well as in our individual lives. Of course, we also need to wash our hands a lot.

Isolation is a major consequence of social distancing.

So in addition to respecting the preventative and health care norms of the pandemic, people of faith need to exercise more care for others—those we know well, those with whom we may be only casually acquainted, and maybe even strangers. This is a special time to consider the ways we can show love for our neighbor.

Let’s pray for each other as well as those we do not know personally. Let’s look out for one another, demonstrate care for one another, and simply check in on one another. A phone call or text or email has great meaning and provides a lifeline for those who are alone. You can even Skype and see each other!

Our conference minister, Rev. Bill Worley, reminds us to be “… people of faith, not of fear. God needs us to be sources of non-anxious presence in a very anxious time. That is the most certain path to witness to the very powerful presence of the resurrected Spirit of Christ Jesus and God’s dominion over this world and our lives.”

Our National United Church of Christ leaders ask us to join them in this prayer.

Holy God, ever present with us, we are mindful of these times in which we live. Uncertainty, anxiety, and fear are present among us as we listen and care for one another in these days. We ask that your peace and healing presence be with us, as we pray for and hold each other in love. We ask your guidance and direction as we live out your command to love one another as we are called to love you. In the name of the one who has called us and prepared us for these challenging days, we pray. Amen.

—Pastor Bob Fogal

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