I have been thinking about aftermath of 9/11 and how it, for a time, created a deeper sense of connection in our wider community. Suddenly people were kinder to each other. People welcomed you to merge into traffic, greeted you with a genuine warmth. The tragedy reminded us we are connected and drew out our better spirits. Perhaps you remember that and the ways that were lived out in simple acts.

I find a parallel today as we try to take in all the impact of COVD-19. Sure our anxiety is causing selfish behaviors like toilet paper hoarding and some flairs of anger, but more so I am finding a renewed sense of connection. It is a bit of “we are all in this together” but even more it is a concern for others. As a friend said to me, “I believe I will be OK but I need to do all I can to make sure the same is true for others.” And so we are behaving differently and unlike 9/11 when we reached and drew closer, this time we are physically stepping apart.

I point this out because I believe this is important to see and understand – that in the midst of this anxious and fearful time our hearts are drawn to care for others. What I am seeing is no less than grace – radical, unconditional love offered without concern for merit or return.

So I encourage you to keep it up. Let your care, kindness, love, and concern flow freely because the world needs it. Check-in on your neighbors, call whoever comes to mind. Smile even as you keep your distance and exhibit the hopeful calm we all so desperately need. The church can use your help. We are actively gathering information from our members about their situations and needs. If you are able to call or send cards to others who are self-isolating, or are willing to do shopping for them, or pray for them daily please call the church so we can help you get engaged. Likewise, if you have prayer concerns or would like to be called or get some help please let us know.

Indications are this situation is going to go on for a longer than any of us wish. It also is probably going to get more critical before it turns around. So we are laying the groundwork for a journey together and grateful we are doing with Christ in our midst. In this time we are needed to be His ears and hands, His voice and heart. And I thank you for all the ways you are going about that. I also look forward to all the ways it will continue. So I offer you those same words I share every week: Go out into the world and be the Children of God that you already are. And know the grace and peace of God are ours now and forever more.

Tom