Pandemic Ponderings

In an effort to process these unprecedented times and hopefully process well, I thought I'd share a collection of my own thoughts and those I've found helpful in the recent days. Please share how you're processing too! There's been great discussion on my Instagram posts related to COVID-19 and I wanted to save them in a more permanent place, so here we are.   

On Friday, March 13 I wrote the following:
The world, or those who are able I should say, are hunkering down and hoping to ride out Coronavirus, which has been made considerably easier given that schools are now closed and many employees are being asked to stay home. Our Prime Minister's wife has just tested positive for it, which, for some reason, brought it all home for me.
Our living room is about to become our school room, gym, church, and work place. Part of me sees thrill in these changes and relishes an opportunity to stay home and hibernate and my family; like Christmas holidays Part II. 
But part of me is overwhelmed by the global panic, by the empty shelves I saw yesterday at a major grocery chain (just the toilet paper section, but what's next?), by the younger and younger people being diagnosed with a novel virus that we were told only affected elderly compromised immune systems, by all of it, really. I'm worried for my friends who work in healthcare and are on the front lines. I'm worried about the many times I've taken public transit this past week. I'm worried about those in our community who will run out of essentials. I'm worried about what social distancing will do for those with mental health concerns and for our economy. 
My church is studying Ecclesiastes right now and the timeliness is striking. This sermon series was planned eight months ago but lo, and behold, Coronavirus arrives at just the time were turning to God's word to remember that material things will not satisfy, that our earthly successes will not bring lasting joy, and that much of the things we turn to in this world for comfort are but a vapour. Smoke. Stockpiling toilet paper is smoke. The stock market rising and falling is smoke. That cancelled vacation is smoke. I don't say this lightly - we, too have lost savings in the market crash, and we may very well need to cancel our June trip.  But I need to remember that these things are not lasting joys. Maybe you need that reminder too?
Practically speaking, please don't forget to love your neighbour in this. Share instead of stockpile. Check in on those who are alone and vulnerable. And remember, perfect love casts out fear ♡
Today, Sunday, March 15, our church worshiped apart but together via a life-feed of our worship pastor leading praise and Brad expounding on Psalm 91. We were encouraged to watch the live fed service in small groups, so the kids and I tuned in with three others who live very close by. Afterwards, Brad led a Facebook live event and did Q&A for his sermon. As we watched dear soul after dear soul check in to the live event we were also treated to pictures of the dozens of other small groups worshiping alongside the live feed in their homes. It was truly so touching. When the event was over, my group opted for a few more songs a capella, just us seven. These are scary times, yet such sweet moments.

Below are other words that bolstered me this week in the unknown and anxious times. I hope they're as good to you as they were to me. 

Psalms or Headlines? That's the question and the choice laid out by Sarah Clarkson, a woman I've come to admire greatly. In this post she writes about picking up the pieces after a home invasion during the already overwhelming time of Coronavirus. She chooses the Psalms and we ought to as well.

I often turn to this newsletter by Matt Civico when I want to challenge myself and go deeper in thought. Matt writes about daily things that we all encounter but with such incredible insight and maturity. Of course, his gleanings on the global pandemic were helpful and beautiful. (log in to read)

Brad shared this Martin Luther quote with our church this week and I thought it was perfect.
" I will ask God out of mercy to protect us. Then I'm going to smoke, to help cleanse the air, give medicine and take them. I will avoid places, and people, where my presence is not necessary to not be contaminated and also inflict and affect others, not to cause their death as a result of my neglect. If God wants to take me, he will surely find me and I will have done what he expected of me, without being responsible neither for my own death nor for the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, I will not avoid any place or anyone, but I will go freely as mentioned above. See, it is such a faith that fears God because it is neither daring nor reckless and does not try God." 
Source: Works by Luther Volume 43 p. 132 the letter "May we escape from a deadly plague" written to the Rev. Dr. John Hess.
This excellent resource for taking to children about COVID-19 was really helpful.

This playlist will bring a lot of comfort to anxious souls.

I appreciate this articicle, which pointed to some incredibly wise words penned 70 years ago that could well be applied today in our Coronavirus time. C S Lewis, writing in 1948 said this:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
 This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

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