Own the moment: Responding to the current crisis


Much like everybody else, I find many of my waking hours occupied contemplating the new realities and possibilities created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Honestly, it is impossible to escape it at this juncture. All of our normal distractions have been infected. March Madness has been turned into March Sadness as all tournaments have been canceled. Likewise, professional athletics have been put on an indefinite hiatus for the well-being of fans and players alike.

With the advisory against gatherings of larger than 50 people, going to the mall or shopping center is no longer an option. All forms of news media have been deluged with coverage of how the virus is impacting every area of life, what is and should be done to contain it and the many ways it’s impacting our world.

Naturally, we are filling our social media accounts with our takes on the situation and the various bits of information that we find concerning, encouraging or noteworthy. At this moment in time, it is inescapable.

If I might be completely transparent, there are moments when I feel the fear everyone else is feeling. Just like so many others, I wonder how this outbreak will impact my family and friends.

I’ve read countless reports. I know the statistics. I understand the realities of at-risk populations. And while the data seems to indicate that most of my family, though they may contract the virus, will not have long-term ramifications, I still feel the sting of the unknown.

Just like many others, I wonder about the financial impact this will have on my family, my church, my community and the world at large. I wonder whether or not stores will have enough stock to keep pace with demand. I worry that our concern will overtake our common sense and common decency and that we’ll fail to account for the needs of the many in light of the needs of our own. Days such as these can be dark and difficult.

I’ve seen the attempts of many to encourage faith over fear and to point people to the promises of Scripture. I know that we should be strong and of good courage. I know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. I know that God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. I know that we shouldn’t worry.

But even knowing all of this, sometimes, the size of the struggle shakes me a little. I am human, and sometimes, I am scared, as are many of you. And you know what? I think that’s OK.

What matters is that we don’t allow our fears to determine our actions, that we don’t let the struggle stop us and that we rise up in the grace of God to meet the challenge of the moment.

As I was praying and thinking this afternoon, my heart and mind continually were drawn to my faith family at First Baptist Church. I considered where we started at three-plus years ago and where we are today.

I thought about the team of leaders God has assembled at the church. I thought about all of the difficult conversations we’ve had and the hard decisions we’ve had to make. I thought about our vision of not simply being a church in Seymour, Indiana, but being a church for Seymour, Indiana.

I thought about our recent partnership with The Alley, as we’ve provided them with a place to call home and joined them in their efforts to help the hungry and hurting in our community. I thought about the teams of volunteers and community agencies that we are currently partnering with to meet the needs of our community during this current struggle with COVID-19.

As all of these things came to mind it hit me, God has prepared us for this moment. Just as God placed Esther in a position of influence at the perfect time to serve her people, so God has perfectly placed his people “for such a time as this.” This is what we do. This is who we are.

This extends far beyond First Baptist Church, though. While I am incredibly grateful for my church family, I realize we aren’t in this alone — that churches all across our community, country and the world are stepping up and stepping out to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

This has been the dominant trend in churches in Seymour for the last several years. There has been a spirit of partnership and participation for the greater good of our community. God has been preparing us for this moment.

Jesus said we are the light of the world. Light shines brightest when days are the darkest. It is time for us to come together (figuratively because social distancing) to shine as the “city on a hill” we are called to be.

So though the struggle may be great and fears may come, let us own this moment to the best of our ability. Let us lean into the grace and strength God has given us and light up the night. This is our time to shine. So shine bright, my brothers and sisters.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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