It feels like we are preparing for a coming blizzard. The grocery stores are full of nervous shoppers, and there is no toilet paper on the shelves. Everyone is talking about COVID-19, and change is constant.
The heightened awareness and overwhelming fear of not only the illness but the ramifications on social life and employment are real. Medical staff and those in leadership roles are under extreme duress. People are not being allowed to see their loved ones who are sick to protect them from getting sick.
Where does this leave you?
So, where does this leave you? Fear causes people to do crazy things. We cannot ignore the pandemic that is crossing this world. However, and especially in times of panic, we turn to God for resolve.
Through the gifts of the Spirit, God enables us to care for one another. We check in on our neighbors, encourage and support one another, and pray for healing and wholeness for all people.
The Bible talks about combatting fear more than anything. Yet, scary news is flooding people’s social media feeds.
We are church in times of fear
Throughout all of history and in all times, people have faced fear. Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
For times such as these, we are church. We must trust that God will use us in ways we could never imagine. Psalm 23 brings comfort to so many.
Continue to be cautious and use proper sanitary practices, but do not stop loving and caring for your neighbor. Pray for those with weak immune systems. Find a way to connect to those who are isolated. Be the body of Christ, comforting and loving all those who suffer.
Our strength comes from the Lord. Take solace in the Word and use this time to spread the Good News (by phone, on social media) that Christ died for all of our sins. And through his death and resurrection, we have new life with him here and now. This promise, my friends, is one that we want to infect everyone.
Sara J. Larson is on Women of the ELCA’s executive board. She’s a busy online student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, and an active lay minister at First Lutheran Church, Marshall, Minn.
One way to be in community with Lutheran women is by participating in Women of the ELCA’s Tuesday prayer at noon (in your time zone.) Find our prayer resources here.