In the coronavirus crisis, we’re all navigating new waters together: individuals and families, priests and congregations. So let’s learn from each other, as Christians around the globe contemplate how to respond in Christlikeness. Below we’ve summarized some recent helpful articles from various Christian publications, outlining ways to respond both personally and corporately.
I’m Afraid. Are You? from Anglican Compass
Canon Greg Goebel examines our natural fears during times of crisis, particularly a habit we have of using Scripture out of context to downplay fear instead of bringing it to the Lord.
“We may be misunderstanding Jesus if we think he is saying, ‘Do not feel fear!’ A better way to understand what Jesus is telling us is ‘When you are afraid, trust in me! I’m here!’”
Canon Greg encourages the Church to be a community where fear (and other feelings, for that matter) are not brushed aside, but where we invite Jesus to speak to our legitimate feelings.
“Jesus always points fear to faith. Faith in him. And over time, yes, our fears can subside as we accept them and yet put our faith in Christ. We can’t force them away, but we can re-direct our attention to our sure foundation. Jesus is adding a beautiful, hopeful vision of the future alongside the difficult realities of the situation we may be encountering.”
A Word from the Lord with Archbishop Foley Beach
“Anxiety and fear are in our lives and we need to get alone with God in prayer” is the title of a recent devotional from Archbishop Foley, who offers short messages as daily devotionals on the Word from the Lord site, or delivered to your email.
He quotes Mark 1:35, when Jesus left the house early to go out to a solitary place to pray. “He got alone by himself with his Father… If there’s one Christian discipline that is neglected by today’s Christians, I believe it’s this discipline of getting alone with the Lord.”
In another he encourages, “If you will practice the presence of God, you will have peace amidst the storm.”
Asian Americans Call on the Church to Preach Against Coronavirus Racism from Christianity Today
The Asian American Christian Collaborative has issued a statement calling on churches to actively address racist behavior toward Asians during the coronavirus pandemic. The two collaborators on the statement have experienced xenophobic comments either themselves or have seen it in their communities.
“Worried that fellow Christians were ignoring or downplaying the problem, even calling people ‘snowflakes’ for taking issue with terms like ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan flu,’ they rallied together Asian American voices to address the racism they knew was real and posed a serious risk.”
The article cites increased media reports of racist incidents toward Asian Americans – and an FBI warning of potential increased incidents as well – and quotes Biola University professor Allen Yeh: “‘America first’ or ‘my own race first’ is not living out the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus defined our neighbor as the one who is most hated… In times of fear, take this as an opportunity to defend and support those who are most targeted and marginalized.”
Leaders, Pace Yourselves During the Quarantine from The Gospel Coalition
Pastor David Gundersen takes lessons learned from a non-stop crisis response to Hurricane Harvey to remind church leaders in this moment: Do not sprint into a marathon.
“Be disciplined not only to rest but to create new patterns and rhythms. Disruptions like the one we’re experiencing will put your mind on a treadmill that keeps your spirit churning even when you’re not actively working or worrying. [Jesus’s] years of public ministry were the most important years in world history, but he knew when to get away, when to take a break, when to say, ‘It’s not the time—my hour has not yet come.’”