May our concern for community seed a new 'normal'
"Community" is the word for today. We hear about "community spread," a call for community responsibility and acting for community health. We hear that "herd" immunity is needed to quell the spread.
"Community" is at the core of teachings of the faiths and the missions of nonprofits.
We hear of the need for personal and social responsibility to achieve isolation from the community and social distancing to protect ourselves and, for the sake of others, to prevent spread, especially to vulnerable people—elderly, immune-compromised, homeless, hungry and imprisoned.
Faith leaders remind congregations that community response of caring and justice are critical today more than ever.
We are to love one another in new ways—finding new means to connect while being apart. Out of concern for the community, congregations and faith communities went online to worship, meet, study and share resources.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, World Health Organization director-general, said, "This virus will not be stopped without the cooperation of governments, businesses, society and people. It is everyone's responsibility. We are as strong as our weakest link. The world is intertwined, globalized. We need to act in unison to build global preparedness and global resistance," he said.
In a press conference, he and other health care professionals said that to lessen fear, people need to be informed so they can protect themselves and others, and discover positive ways to channel their energy.
We are fortunate to have internet that connects us with each other, our leaders and scientists.
Congress passed bipartisan legislation to provide relief, funds and supplies for businesses, workers and hospitals.
Living in a pandemic with confusion about what to do, we need information as we put our lives on pause, take deep breaths, enter a Lenten time-out. Faith leaders cite teachings to turn us from fear, to seek new ways to be compassionate.
We must also be attuned to see how inequities of society in "normal" times may exacerbate risks now. Community means assuring the wellbeing of all people at all times for the sake of everyone.
It's a time to buy just enough for our needs, so enough is there for everyone else's needs.
It's a time for solidarity, putting the health of the community and the wellbeing of all ahead of our wants.
It's a time for public-private partnerships and volunteerism to help.
It is a time for prayer, for loving neighbors, caring for people around us and using our God-given gifts.
When we return to "normal," may it be a new, more just, more loving normal.
Mary Stamp - Editor
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2020