No doubt you’re weary, worn and maybe even despairing as the pandemic yet lingers after 9 months, daily cases of COVID are reportedly on the rise, and we battle for the soul of our nation. But if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share an encouraging revelation that came to me as our team was gathered for our daily morning prayer.
You see, Nehemiah found himself in a similar situation. He’s recorded saying in Nehemiah 1:4–5:
That word love caught my attention. Nehemiah appealed to God on the basis of His love. I’m reminded of the old hymn “Love Lifted Me.” Then I saw in a vision a movement of love in action by the Church:
Intentional “agape” distributed in community to our neighbors, friends, church members and family who are isolated in nursing homes, emergency rooms, homebound, open shelters, attending college, or working long days and nights in an essential service profession.
Imagine how the love of Christ shared by the Church could lift these ‘neighbors’ from despair. Wow!
Since March, when Christians (and the world) were first sheltered in place, we’ve been in repose. At that time, maybe it was needed.
But we’re told in Proverbs 24:33–34 about the effects of too much sleep, too much slumber, too much wringing of our hands. Now, nine months later (full-term gestation), instead of the joy of birthing new life, we’re weary, worn and despairing.
The flavor of our salt is waning and the brightness of our light is dimming – our love is waxing cold. We’ve got to shake ourselves from this retreat!
Jesus Christ himself declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church he built. That means contending for community through loving our neighbor in the face of the trial and tribulation.
Greater than the physical outbreak of COVID, I believe, is the mental outbreak of depression, loneliness, hopelessness, suicide, isolation, panic, fear, and child and spousal abuse—the unintended consequences of the human isolation we are told will prevent contracting COVID-19.
Instead, these are more ruinous in many cases than COVID-19. We the Church of Jesus Christ must rebuild the wall of God’s love around our communities, cities and this state.
- If you can craft, start making agape crafts with encouraging scriptures on them.
- If you bake, make cookies by the dozen and pray over them while you’re making and bagging them.
- If you have transportation, make deliveries of the crafts and cookies.
- If you can sing, go caroling through the neighborhoods that need the sound of Zion declared.
- If you pray, walk with the singers and offer to pray with people who stop to hear.
Move in unity throughout the community to those in need with our season salt and our bright light.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, on this World Kindness Day, let us make a commitment to rekindle our faith by the Word that says:
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:6-8
God’s word cannot go out and return void. It shall accomplish what it was sent to do.
So let us begin now to rebuild the walls of community by loving our neighbors with the salt and the light of God’s love. His love in action is a healing balm, a cure and a vaccine.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus,
Ruth (McNeil) Edmonds
Church Relations Director
Church Ambassador Network
Citizens for Community Values