The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for all of us to be good citizens and good neighbors. While the metaphor of war is not a perfect way to describe the threat we face from this virus, it does alert us to the mortal threat it brings to us. This invader is not an army from another country, but a virus that is wreaking havoc all around the globe. We are all at risk. This threat requires the kind of mobilization that a world war requires, and we have stepped up before to meet the challenge. Mobilization to meet an enemy is not new, the kind of threat is new, at least for our generation. In previous eras, mobilization meant cranking up our industrial complex to produce tanks, Jeeps, bullets, and bombs. It meant a draft for military service. In our time patriotism is going to be different. Our industrial complex will be retooled to produce ventilators, masks, hand sanitizer, and saline. Here is one example of a company in Conover, NC that is retooling to make masks at their Asheboro plant. (Link from the Hickory Daily Record)
Our scientists are developing treatment protocols and working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials. And our individual sacrifice will be different. This is what I think patriotism will look like for us in the coming months:
- Complying with state and federal guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus.
- Social distancing—limiting your physical interaction with other people, protecting other people as if you were a carrier of the virus.
- Being vigilant about washing your hands, using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Checking on your neighbors and friends by telephone and social media. Social distancing does not mean isolation—keep in close contact even when you cannot have physical contact.
- Stay calm—control your urge to panic buy—buy only what you need.
- Though anxiety decreases with facts, feelings of worry or panic tend to spiral with over-exposure and over-consumption of information. Do what you need to do to stay in-formed by getting your information from reliable and trustworthy sources such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization), then turn the TV off and take a mental break.
- Use this time of crisis as an opportunity to spend focused time in prayer. Pray not only for the safety of your friends and family, but also for those affected by the virus. Pray for wisdom for our leaders who have to make difficult decisions.
- Remember that God loves you and is present with us in the middle of this crisis. Whatever the future holds, we will never be outside of the love and care of Immanuel, God with us.
-Pastor Bill Pyle