Grace and Peace to you, from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
- What God requires of us is this “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 8:6)
- And Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and love our neighbour.
- Our Diocese has called on us to be “loving communities.”
We therefore know what to do and why to do it, but we have to be intentional in deciding how to do it. I address here some of our fears and how we as a community can support each other, encourage each other, and draw on each other’s experiences to navigate through the COVID-19 mitigation measures.
As a community we need to proactively manage ourselves during the level 3 to 1 phases of the lock-down. This does not only refer to the opening of the church but how we live our lives and reintegrate into a new economic and social world. Our conduct and our actions need to be exemplary. We do not have all the answers, but what we have is an ability to take the journey. The ability to go into the world in love, and forgive, and seek forgiveness. To think about others but ensure that we are not tossed about and flailing ourselves. We have a lot to wrestle with in terms of the socialization during the different phases.
Having had to work away from home this week I have experienced some of what we are going to be going through.
In no particular order I raise the following that will need to be carefully dealt with by each one of us.
- Fear of contravention of the lock-down regulations. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law, but for most of us its confusing! How do we keep up and not live in fear of being arrested?
- Meeting people who have processed the last 6 weeks differently. You have been out of physical contact with others and been able to ignore posts and conversations that were not congruent with your journey. Back at work you are going to have to face different opinions, different coping mechanisms and different personalities. Unlike on Facebook where you can hit “like” and scroll on, now you will have to face those people.
- Awkwardness! Wearing a mask is one thing, interacting with others without facial expression and with muffled voices is a whole new communication challenge.
- A sense of not wanting to interact. All our social awkwardness will be exacerbated. The introvert just wants to stay home, the extrovert will have to overcome the inability to hug everyone, and we all need to find new ways of interacting. Everything will be an effort.
- It is all new, things we took for granted will be points of contention as we try to deal with a new socialization environment. Some of the changes we will assimilate and take them in our stride, but many will require some accommodation, compromise, adjustment, and self-sacrifice.
But we are not to be given to fear, not of the virus nor of the new world nor of the effort that we will need to make to develop a new lifestyle. Here are some steps we can take:
- Plan your actions. Be proactive in how you will reintegrate. Don’t just jump in and try and pick up where you left off. Everyone is going to be rebuilding and the more forthright you are the easier you are going to be to work with.
- Keep the good of the lock-down: priorities, routines, practices that were good for you should be continued. You have had “forty days’ to develop a new worldview, priorities, lifestyle, don’t loose it all on the first day out there. Decide what you want to keep in your life and don’t give it up.
- Focus on things above. This is a spiritual battle not just a physical one. Keep the faith, mature in faith continue to strengthen and live out of your spiritual self.
Know that you are in our prayers, trust God and trust Jesus and trust your faith in Him.
Choose Faith not fear