Current Events

Four-Fold Response to COVID-19

Archbishop Foley Beach has written a pastoral letter to the Church suggesting four actions points needed for Christians to respond in faith to the coronavirus emergency.  We are to trust God, be informed, be prudent and always act in love. I especially like his suggestion to pray Psalm 46 at home as a family for next 46 days. Peace! -JB

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Drawing on their deep wisdom, I offer these points, which speak to
both the physical and spiritual concerns that naturally occur at a
time like this:

1. Trust God.

In the midst of uncertainty, we trust God. He is sovereign over human
history and over our lives. He is the Lord, “our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). And he is loving and
merciful. Psalm 100:5 assures us, “For the LORD is good; his steadfast
love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

We witness to our Christian faith when we resist panic, knowing that
our times are in the Lord’s hand (Psalm 31:15). No one can snatch us
out of the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29). And so, “for those who love
God all things work together for good, for those who are called
according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

The Book of Common Prayer offers on page 269 a list of suggested
Psalms on many helpful themes, including God’s sovereignty, providence
and mercy, trust in God, and living faithfully in times of trouble. If
reading from the Psalms is not a part of your daily prayers, try
turning to one of these psalms each day to keep your heart focused on
the Lord and his presence and care.

2. Be informed.

There is much on the internet from unhelpful extreme perspectives that
encourage either panic or complacency. Neither is appropriate. Pay
attention to health advisories from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and your state and local governments.

The CDC website provides a wealth of information about the disease and
appropriate steps for individuals, churches, schools, and businesses
to take.

You may wish to subscribe to the CDC’s COVID-19 newsletter to get
regular updates. Go to their newsletter subscription page and choose
the newsletter entitled, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Avail yourself of your own state’s Department of Health website for
the most up-to-date information, treatment, and infection control
measures for your particular region of the country.

3. Be prudent.

Wash your hands! Wash them frequently and thoroughly, for a minimum of
20 seconds using soap and warm water. There is no substitute for this.
While alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill bacteria, they have not
been shown to be adequate against COVID-19 or other viruses. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration recently warned Purell’s manufacturer to
cease advertising it as an effective agent against viruses. Avoid
touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

For cleaning surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, etc., the CDC
and our experts recommend using bleach (1 part bleach to 100 parts
water).

If you have symptoms of a cough, disease, or a fever within the last
24 hours, please stay at home. Infectious disease specialists in the
Anglican Church in North America have emphasized how vitally important
this is, though COVID-19 can also be spread by people who have not
developed symptoms of illness.

If you are returning from known areas of higher prevalence of
COVID-19, we encourage you not to attend church for two weeks. The
list of affected areas and the period of self-quarantine will likely
change in the weeks ahead.

Prudence and care, especially for those who are susceptible to this
and other viral illness, will require extraordinary leadership in the
weeks to come.  Knowing that sometimes difficult decisions may have to be made, I ask you to pray daily for the men and women involved in these processes and
to carefully listen and follow their direction.

4. Act in love.

Reach out to your neighbors, particularly the elderly and those who
are vulnerable or alone.

Bishop Stewart Ruch of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest offers some practical adviceon what this directive to “act in love” would look like both for individual Christians and for entire churches.  Profound wisdom here, to be received and put into action:

As Christians, how do we respond in this uncertain time?

We love. That is always the call of the Church. We do not give in to a
spirit of fear, blame, or disrespect to our elected officials and
medical professionals. We always respond by displaying the love of
Christ to each other and our world….

Continue to “walk in love as Christ loved us” in these uncertain times
(Eph. 5:1-2). Let’s deepen our lives of prayer, generosity, and
mission.

As you stock resources, consider your neighbors and how you might
share with those around you. Remember and pray for the marginalized,
including the elderly who are most at risk from the disease, low-wage
earners who cannot afford to be out of work, and nearby minority
communities who often rely on public schools for childcare and
breakfasts and lunches for their children. Ask the Lord for
opportunities to give generously.

We can also pray for the eradication of the coronavirus and for a
freedom from fear in the Church and in our communities. To that end,
we are calling Resurrection to a 46 for 46 prayer challenge. For the
next 46 days (until the end of April), pray Psalm 46 with your
household each day.

PSALM 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 

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