A Missional Response
by NAB Executive Team
Dear NAB Family,
As all of us know, we are in the midst of a global pandemic with the disease known as Covid-19 caused by the coronavirus. We, obviously, are not experts in contagious diseases. We, rightfully, need to depend upon reliable sources for help in considering our various responses (e.g. Center for Disease Control, Health Canada, World Health Organization, etc.). The situation is changing daily. New information is often correcting information from the day before. The severity and length of the pandemic is truly unknown at this time. Yet, followers of Christ have something to offer in times of international fear and uncertainty that is deeper, bigger, eternal, good. We point to another, beautiful way of living that is often in opposition to the way of this world.
For many, Covid-19 seems to produce two opposite reactions: A kind of cynicism that minimizes the actual risk and ignores those who are most vulnerable to the disease; or a kind of panic and fear that overreacts and stockpiles items for themselves. Neither is the way of Jesus. It was followers of Christ who, in the midst of persecution, would go to the dumps in the Roman Empire and rescue discarded babies from garbage heaps. It was followers of Christ in the midst of the Black Plague who risked their lives to care for the sick and dying. Throughout the history of the church, followers of Jesus Christ have walked right into the dark places of disease, war, famine, and incredible need and created hospitals, orphanages, and other care facilities. This is the way of Jesus. God is already at work in our communities. Covid-19 can be a God-given opportunity to attend to how God is calling us to join Him in His work in our little corner of the world. It would be wonderful to hear some of the stories in your churches where God is at work in these times.
We are confident that all our NAB churches will be spending time praying in our weekend worship services for this global pandemic. It would be wonderful if we, as a family of NAB churches, spent some time this weekend to pray together. If you find it helpful, the following is an example of a prayer time during a worship service that you may use and adapt.
Opening Prayer (by Cameron Bellm, a writer and mom from Seattle):
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our county, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
– The countries of China, South Korea, Iran and Italy who have been most affected
– Other countries who are in the developing world who may not have the resources
– for health care leaders worldwide to work with discernment in developing treatments
– global economic implications
– global relationships
– The World Health Organization to act wisely, not spark fear, but help bring containment
– for people suffering in Canada and the US
– for particular hot pockets where a State of emergency has been called
– for families that have people who have become ill, or have experienced loss
– for health care workers who are on the front lines
– for the public sector, work, schools, events – for protection and wisdom
– that as God’s missionaries, we might have the courage to care for others
– that we would be diligent in taking precautions
– that we would turn to prayer to a greater degree
– that we as the church would see this as an opportunity to show the love of Christ
– that our church finds very practical ways to help in our own neighborhoods
Although the following list is obviously not exhaustive, please find attached a few links that you may find helpful
- Here is a recommended website in light of the issues we are facing. https://www.cdc.gov
- Health Canada provides regular updates online: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
- The World Health Organization is providing regular global updates online: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- The Gospel Coalition put out an article that may be of help. It can be found at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-should-christians-talk-about-the-covid-19-potential-pandemic/
- Example of communication from an NAB church to their congregation. [EXAMPLE]
We may not know what is in store in the next few weeks and months, but we have a confidence that God is in charge and that He cares for what we are experiencing. Let us join together in prayer for one another and seek to bring encouragement and care to others in the midst of this crisis.
North American Baptist Conference