Special Message (re COVID-19)
Rev. Allen Mothershed
March 16, 2020
Let’s Make the Best of This
A friend told me about a fellow worker who became angered when she shared her concerns about the virus. She expressed fears for her aging parents, and he angrily said the response to the virus was way out of hand. "Besides," he added, “I am younger and not vulnerable.” I suppose older people and more vulnerable people do not concern him.
And yet his reaction is not foreign to us. Many have said, without thinking, "Well, if it mostly affects the elderly, then I'll be fine.” Perhaps all of us have wondered why in the world we are now having to go through this enormous interruption to our lives. Business shut-downs; school closings; brutal economic and social costs. Is the cure worth the cost? I’ve certainly wondered this and had my moments questioning the wisdom. "It’s a virus like the flu, so? We endure that every year without isolating into our corners."
We, as a nation, are going through elements of grief: shock, disbelief, and negotiation. Yes, this virus is like the flu in some ways. But according to US World Report, as many as 61,000 people died in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 45 million were infected. This new virus is an additional danger to contend with, an even greater death rate possible, making it worth our effort to stop or minimize it as we have successfully stopped other invading viruses. Thankfully, most people will suffer a mild case and be fine. But the virus affects older people more harshly. The death rate for people over 80 has been as high as 22%. The danger of this virus is that it remain hidden and passed on in asymptomatic people by frequent contact. It is more contagious than the flu and potentially more deadly. The absence of enough lab testing has necessitated social isolation policies.
As with any misfortune, we do well to accept where we are and find ways to make the best of what is. Spiritually, it is also an opportunity for us. As an often divided nation, we are invited to come together in a common cause, to act with sacrifice for the most vulnerable in our nation and possibly even ourselves. Rarely are we ask to act in such unity for the common good, except in times of war. In this case, we at war with a virus.
So let's break our routines and find common ground. Let’s check in on each other in love and join hearts, if not hands, in prayer. Let’s wash our hands. If you want a little fun, wash them to a song, "Hymn for Handwashing,” to the tune of “Amazing Grace”: “Amazing soap! How sweet the smell that keeps our hands germ-free! Please wash your hands and dry them, too, that we might healthy be.”
Let’s make the best of this.