I spent much of Thursday afternoon and Friday morning last week in correspondence with other pastors as we tried to figure out what we're going to do in response to what we saw transpiring around us. We all had the same sense that this had gone from a concern to DEFCON 5 in just a few days. One pastor, more experienced than I, said the last time he experienced anything like this was in the aftermath of 9/11. So it's been intense to say the least.
Frenetic activity generates numerous opportunities for thoughtful observation. Frankly, I'm still trying to process it all, but there's one thing that has been glaringly transparent: fear is a destructive force.
As I watched the news coverage of this pandemic, there were two behavioral characteristics our collective fear was prolific at producing: hoarding and isolation. Neither of those behaviors allow us to love other people very well because both hoarding and isolation move in the wrong direction. They move inward. Left unchecked, they will cause an implosion. Love, on the other hand, moves outward towards others.
So the action item for us as Christians is pretty simple, but may involve risk. In order for us to love as Jesus loved, we're going to have to move towards people - even those who may be sick! Check in on those you know who are vulnerable to this. You all know someone who is elderly or has an underlying medical condition that makes them susceptible. Reach out to them. Run errands for them. Give them your toilet paper!
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." (1 John 4:18).