Covid-19 is laying siege on the world.
Almost everywhere, the pandemic is disrupting businesses and industries, local and international travel; schools and colleges are closing; courts are postponing hearings; and governments are making urgent plans to curb the spread of the causative corona virus. All over the world, hospitals are scrambling to increase intensive care capacity in anticipation.
It seems everyone is affected.
Some people are taking selfish advantage by, hiking prices of or hoarding items that are in demand; some are offering untested and unscientific remedies. There are reports from USA (and Kenya) of fake COVID-19 tests on the market. In addition, social media is awash with rumors, and conspiracy theories, and stories about apocalyptic predictions. There is panic, bordering hysteria in some places.
Diseases by their virulence draw attention to our mortality, they highlight our fragility, and even though the lethal potential of COVID-19 is not the worst we have seen, its threat is existential. Some of the unusual behavior reported in its wake is due to uncertainty about our ability to survive it.
Prof. S. Veissière, of McGill University’s department of psychiatry and co-director of the Culture, Mind and Brain Program says of the hoarding seen in some parts of Canada:
“It’s a primitive protection ritual, protecting your body boundaries from infection. You’re giving yourself the illusion that you’re protecting your body.” Adding that emergencies “– feeds our cognitive bias – an illusion of control. We are always under the impression that we are under control when we are responding to external forces,” Prof. Veissière further explains. “At the core, all humans like to hoard, so it’s an attempt to create predictability and regain control.”1
However, this ritual self-preservation reflex must not blind the Christ follower from the fact that God is always at work and that it is He that is in control. Not us. Christ taught that disease could be opportunity for the demonstration of the power and goodness of God when He healed a man blind from birth. Following this example EMAS Canada made resources available to our partners in China and continues to look for practical ways to serve those in need. God’s grace flowing out of lives embedded in a personal relationship with Jesus is the resource that overcomes our human tendencies for self-preservation enabling us to live for others.2
In addition, we are taking steps as responsible world citizens.
Our Mission has canceled service trips to Zimbabwe, Myanmar, China, and Cambodia; and locally our annual leaders’ retreat. We are encouraging virtual team meetings; and will reschedule board meetings and change their format to virtual instead of the traditional face-to-face meetings.
Today the duty to care for one’s neighbor, any practical application of the golden rule, and sacrificial living out of the Samaritan principle are challenges that require a delicate balance between essential preventative acts, such as social distancing, and humane engagement, such as that of Christ (Matt.8:2-3).
The siege need not induce fear for we have the wisdom of the scriptures and these insights from Martin Luther are my recommendation as a primer for your deeper reflection and study of God’s word to gain personal convictions of your own.
EMAS Canada has a greater opportunity to serve those in need, in a Christ-like manner than ever before.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
2 John 15:5 & 2 Corinthians 9:8 & 12:9-102
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.