My thoughts on the Coronavirus.
You hear Coronavirus, and you've already formed some kind of opinion.
Yes in the U.S. somehow we can even find political sides when it comes to communicable diseases.
There are the people who think it's a total media-driven sham-- spouting facts about the contagion and death rate of the flu for the last fifty years.
Some of you have some anecdotal advice about a questionable encounter you had with a sick stranger at your favorite lunch spot. This human sat at the table next to you and definitely had some crazy foreign illness and they coughed contagious particles all over your food...but since you spent $7.99 on your burrito you ate it anyway. But then you took a shot of vodka and feel like a million bucks. Eat less cheap burritos. Drink vodka. End of story.
And some of you just stopped reading.
Then there are others that say that they are not hysterical but fact-driven. But maybe secretly they're edging on hysterical since they have read every article published about the virus in the last 24 hours and every time they're throat tickles they have to talk themselves off a ledge.
But I'm sure you dear reader are the perfectly normal, level-headed person in the midst of all this crazy.
However, if you're the one that went and bought mass amounts of toilet paper--stop reading--I'm judging you. Kidding....okay not kidding.
Unless you're like my friend Jacqui who bought it for a bridal shower game to make toilet paper wedding dresses. That seems totally reasonable to me.
Okay I'm getting somewhere...
This morning I was reading from Joshua 3 about when the Israelites crossed the Jordan and I'm clinging to some lessons from this story as we take tentative steps forward into the days and weeks ahead.
1. They appointed leaders from every tribe. I don't love every person that has been placed in authority over me. I haven't always agreed with them. But as a community, we can't get from point A to point B if we all want to map out our own route to get there. It can be a waste of resources, hurt the community, and incite chaos. Through this, I'm going to respect, support, and pray for our leaders as best as I can.
2. The waters didn't recede until they took the first step. God teaches how to live in real-time. Step by step as we trust He will guide and provide. Right now we are being challenged to live in the moment. I know there are a lot of predictions: the economy is going to tank; events are going to be canceled; travel is questionable. While planning ahead by buying food and storing extra meals in the freezer is wise, we cannot predict or control the days ahead. As if we ever could! But the illusion of control is gone, as we forge into the unfamiliar terrain ahead step by painstaking step. As we move slowly forward we trust and anticipate how God will provide and we hold hands with the people next to us. (Okay so CDC recommends just touching elbows)
3. God was among them. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to the center of the Jordan. The ark was the first to enter and last to be taken out. They were instructed by God to do this so that the people would know that the Lord was with them. But here's what gets me friends--the Lord was with them traveling, in the center of their problems, both before and behind. In our culture of Sunday morning church, we say that we know God is with us, but it's easy to pin our relationship with God to Sunday morning worship. The Coronavirus threat is actually invading that space making churches rethink how they do church, and if things get worse, if they should be doing church. This story shows us that God is among us and that He is honored where two are three are gathered confessing His name.
4. They took stones out of the river as reminders. As we go through this experience let us gather reminders of God's goodness and lessons of how to navigate faith in this crazy world. Let's appreciate the things we take for granted and think about how this experience can empower us to live more boldly the life we've been given.
We'll get to the other side of this. By God's grace we'll learn more about God and each other in the process.