In a matter of days, shelves were emptied, schools were closed, flights were diverted, and church turned digital.
All to stop the spread of a virus that has the potential to overwhelm our health systems and incite continued fear and panic. In one sense, this feels like the rallying moment of our lifetime. This is our collective moment to come together and show even the most microscopic of enemies that the human race can stay unified in this fight.
In another sense, these crises highlight how fractured and divisive we can sometimes be. Who do we blame? Who is at fault?
In other words, we are at a crossroads as a community, as a nation, and as a world. Gatherings are limited. Schools are about to shut down. Who knows what could be next?
I say all this not to jump on the fear and pandemonium train. I say this because this is the unprecedented reality of our world today. It’s turning increasingly disruptive and disorienting. It’s affecting our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our families. It’s affecting our church.
So what’s the path ahead?
Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe we will emerge from this as a nation and as a church stronger than before. How many know, it is the struggle that makes us stronger? These crises and moments have the potential to reveal the best in us. That’s my prayer as we navigate the next couple of weeks.
When will the virus be halted? When will schools be back in session? When can we return to a certain degree of normalcy? I don’t have definitive answers for that.
But here’s what I do feel definitive about.
This is where the church shines brightest. In the darkness, in the unknown, in the heartache is where God is inviting us to show people another way. Instead of fear, God invites us to bring hope. Instead of uncertainty, God invites us to bring faith. Where there is heartache, God calls us to be people who bring comfort and peace and love.
Church, this is our moment to be exactly who we were meant to be.
As leaders, as parents, as people who follow Jesus, these disruptive and disorienting moments are simply an opportunity to showcase to the world that there is more to life than what sometimes meets the eye.
This virus reminds us of that reality. We can’t see it. But it is as real as it gets.
In the same way, the work of Holy Spirit is evident right now in our world and church. We are coming together, albeit differently than we have in the past. We aren’t gathering in auditoriums scattered across the Twin Cities, at least for the upcoming season. Instead, we are gathering digitally on apps, on our phones, on our computers, on a screen.
No matter how we gather, the point is that we are together. Because we don’t end world pandemics alone. We end it in cooperation and unity with another. And we as Christians also end it by placing our faith in a God who will intervene in a powerful way.
And the way He intervenes, so often, is He uses you and me to do something ordinary. To share a smile, check up on a neighbor, send an encourage text. We will do our part. God will do His.
And together, we will emerge from this stronger than ever before.
Let’s hold on to the promise that the best is yet to come for our nation, for our church, and for our families.
As leaders, as parents, and as Christians, let’s take this opportunity to be the church. Let’s show the world what it’s like to live with faith and hope, rather than fear and trembling. The world needs that more than ever and we have the answer.
The world needs Jesus.