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BY MISSY SMITH

March 15, 2020


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Distant, yet together: what can we learn from our neighbors in Italy?
In these very unique and consequential days, the best of humanity is on display, if we have eyes to see.

Now more than ever before, it is clear how much we need one another, and how interconnected we are. Take a few seconds and watch this beautiful video out of Italy (via HuffPo). Even in the darkness, in the isolation, humanity reaches out to connect in the limited ways that are available to them.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. - ‭‭John‬ ‭1:5‬

“You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” - ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16 
Even though the guidance we are receiving from the administration has been lukewarm and infantile at best, dismissive and dangerous at worst, the guidance provided by the CDC and WHO was clear enough to set protective measures in motion. Thank God for science.  

There is no way to overstate the gravity of this moment. Never before have we been asked, as a nation, to practice social distancing. Each event cancelation means the loss of revenue for countless people. Each canceled meeting means the loss of productivity and momentum. And yet individuals and groups are stepping up and taking these warnings seriously. For the greater good and the health of the community, we are taking the losses.

Let’s think about this for just a moment. Our country is coming together in an unprecedented way by staying physically apart. We are loving one another by choosing distance. There is a beauty in this sacrifice.

In the same moment, we see corporations stepping up to do what they can to mitigate some of the hardships created by these efforts. For example, internet service providers are offering free internet to allow students to continue to receive instruction while school systems are shut down. Many companies are waiving fees that could net large profits during this time in the hope of lessening burdens on customers.

There is beauty around us, if we have eyes to see.
As many of us know, the most vulnerable among us will be the most affected by any cancelations or changes made in efforts to flatten the curve and control the spread of COVID-19. Those who work in service industries, those who rely on tips, those who will experience a loss of hours - these individuals and their families are going to experience this global crisis with an additional pile-on of personal financial crisis. Let us think creatively together about the ways we can minister to these people.  

What food pantries need your donations? What additional tip can you leave for your delivery people? How can you help ensure that children are eating while schools are out for extended periods of time?  

Look for ways to bring the light to your community, and share this information with your network of friends and family. Can you combine your efforts with another and make an even greater impact? We are stronger together.
God, give us eyes to see beauty in these strange and difficult days. Give us eyes to see opportunities to pour light and to love on our neighbors in real and tangible ways. May these days of isolation remind us of how connected we are, and how much we need one another. Amen.
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