“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
Dear Redeemer Family:
“Don’t Panic.” Those immortal words, we are told by the author Douglas Adams, are found on the cover of that “most interesting book in the universe,” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is one of my favorite books, and made a fair good movie. Of course, the hero of the story (really a non-hero), Arthur Dent, panics all of the time. The theme runs all of the way through the book and its sequels. I think that to a degree it was Adam’s commentary on the human race. Interestingly, to change books, the Bible tells us “do not be afraid” 365 times. I’ve read that somewhere. I haven’t actually counted. That means that we are told to not be afraid every day of the year. That should be a calming notion. Even more interestingly, in the Bible, the words “do not be afraid” are addressed only to people who are in the presence of something which they should be afraid of, usually the Divine.
Currently, the world is very concerned about the coronavirus “Covid 19.” And, we well should be. But, there have been steps being taken worldwide to stop it. Along these lines, we will be doing as requested by the Bishop’s Office, the Center for Disease Control, Health Departments everywhere. We will “pause” (that’s the way the Bishop phrased it in her email) for a bit. All congregational activities will be stopped, including public worship, until the end of the month of March. We may need to reevaluate the date later. The simplest way to stop this virus is to not pass it on to anyone else. The most vulnerable group is persons over the age of 65. That describes a large portion of our active membership. So, for the sake of the common good, as much as possible, stay home if you are able. If not, and people do need to get supplies, go to work, etc., remember to wash your hands, often. It is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus. Sanitize surfaces. This is considered a “weak” virus. There are quite a few things that will kill it. Cough into the inside of your elbow. Stay six feet away from other people (okay, you can touch your family members). There are simple directions. And, two weeks is not a long time. Some of you gave up things for Lent. That’s 40 days.
Also, during this time, I would like you to check up on the elderly and the needy. Some of them may need assistance, especially in getting groceries. Call and ask. You can pick up food and medicine and place it on their doorstep if need be. One of the great things in history that got people to notice Christians was how the Christians acted during the times of the great plagues. While everyone else was on the run, the Christians actually were going in and taking care of the sick. “They will know that we are Christians by our love.” Remember.
So, Don’t Panic! Don’t rush out and buy all of the toilet paper in the store! I find that phenomenon very funny. Remember every day: Do not be afraid. This is a trying time. But, the solution is fairly simple. And God is with you. It is His good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.