Corona Week 2 Wednesday
Remember watching that TV show? The period piece set back in time? It was the one where there was a plague an outbreak, or a war. Do you remember what people did? What the churches did? What the faithful did? [Here's an example]
One of my favorite stories is from Little Women. During an outbreak of poverty and sickness, the Marsh family shared their resources with their neighbors and helped take care of community members. There are countless stories like this. For those of you who watched Downton Abbey, you'll remember that the Granthams donated their home to become a temporary hospital during WWI.
Some stories are fiction, but some are very real. The Faithful opened up their church buildings and homes to become hospitals and shelters. They left their jobs to become nurses and caregivers. They started missions to house the orphans, widows, and elderly.
I'm a little surprised that even the most radical social justice churches I know have not been talking about the possibilities of taking on a new identity as hospital or hospitality care. Countless folks are having zoom calls to discuss how to take worship services online and what to do about choirs, Sunday School, and church business meetings. Folks are hosting panel discussions on church finances and online giving.
The pastors I know who have arrest records for civil disobedience have not been talking about the government mandate to shutter the church doors.
Now, I'm not saying we need to all start gathering together in protest or anything. No, I think physical distancing is appropriate and right. But, it is not the only option and it may not be the best option.
I know of 4 families facing eviction in these moments. I know of one family living in a car at a rest stop right now. The typical modes of addressing these issues were already extremely flawed and highly ineffective. And now, they aren't even possibilities. Certainly, if the church can quickly innovate to streaming, phone chains, drive-in church, and other ways of coming together as a committed body, they can also innovate how they serve the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
I'm not sure what the answers are, but now is the time to get creative and think+act on the possibilities.