A Christian Response to COVID-19

by Pastor Eddie

Posted on March 26th, 2020 ()

Pastor Eddie shares some insights on how our community can look upon these recent current events, particularly during this Lenten season.

Our Lenten journey this year has become so much darker because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We watch as communities across the world, including our own, desperately grapple with a rapidly deteriorating situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are infected and the numbers continue to climb every day. The death toll from the disease is in the tens of thousands, many of them health care workers who had worked tirelessly to care for the infected, and often had to do so without proper personal protective equipment. In an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, countries have closed down their borders, ban visitors and ordered lockdowns to minimize community transmission.

Here in Canada, an invisible enemy is in our midst and it is ravaging our communities. The different levels of government and health authorities are forced to introduce sweeping measures in an effort to contain COVID-19. All international air travel has been banned indefinitely. Many provinces have declared a state of emergency. Daily briefings by health authorities emphasize the critical need to practice social distancing. People are ordered to stay at home except for the purpose of getting groceries, medicine and other essential supplies. Non-essential businesses closed down and workers laid off as a result. All levels of government are frantically putting together an economic response plan to deal with a financial fallout impacting both businesses and individuals.

In response to the need to practice social distancing and self-isolation, churches have cancelled physical worship services and other gatherings, and transitioned to using online platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook and YouTube to conduct worship services and hold meetings. The question remains as to how churches can still maintain a semblance of community without any physical contact with each other. We are in uncharted territory and we need to learn fast to adapt to the new situation.

Physical distancing and self-isolation can be a challenging experience for many people. After just one week, some are already feeling a sense of loneliness and boredom because of the lack of social interaction and human contact. The urge to gather in groups and have fun can be really tempting. But to engage in such activities is irresponsible. As Christians, the command to love our neighbors as ourselves governs all our human relationships. It means that we must not put the lives of others at risk by what we do. We may think because we are young and healthy, and as statistics suggest, not as likely to succumb to COVID-19 as the seniors and those with pre-existing health challenges. But by flouting the order to practice social distance, we can become links in a transmission chain infecting the more vulnerable members of our community. I heard Christians justifying not practicing social distancing by saying that God will protect them and even if they are infected, it is God’s will. While secretly, I am glad that they are not members of our church, I am also sad that they are mistaken in their belief that God will always supernaturally intervene to protect them and there is no need to use their God-given common sense. Such a response reflects a gross misinterpretation of the Bible. More importantly, it puts others at risk.

Moreover, Christians are called to submit themselves to the authorities who are appointed by God to maintain law and order for the sake of peace and to promote the welfare of society. We do not always agree with the policies of our government, but in this case, it is clear that they were introduced for the health and well-being of our communities. For this reason, we should not only abide by these policies, but to collaborate with the authorities in every way we can to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

During Lent, we are encouraged to engage in meaningful activities that can help us better identify with the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Fasting, repentance and doing acts of kindness for others are some of the traditional ways we observe Lent. In the context of a world grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that practicing social distancing, self-isolation, refraining from hoarding and assisting those who are in need are perhaps the most appropriate ways of observing Lent this year.

This is indeed a time when the church plays a vital role. In the darkness of despair everywhere, the message of Good News must shine forth. And as Easter approaches, we offer the hope that despite the staggering toll of COVID-19, even this global calamity shall pass. The resurrected Lord who is the Giver of Life has triumphed over death and the grave.

Kyrie eleison!

Pastor Eddie

(604) 324-6110 | info@en.nlclc.org
6215 Main St. Vancouver, BC V5W 2T9