As you read this, we’ve been in this new reality of living in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic for at least a few weeks now. Our routines have been massively interrupted at the very least. There are lots of feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, and loss of purpose floating around out there, and these are perfectly normal feelings to have. The news changes hour by hour, and we don’t know what’s hiding around the next corner.
We recently celebrated the feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Anglican (and Catholic, and some other) Church calendar(s). This feast commemorates the Archangel Gabriel coming to the Blessed Virgin Mary and announcing (“annunciating”) that she is with child – Emmanuel. One of the things that he tells her is “do not be afraid.”
Perhaps these are words we need to hear right now; on whatever day we happen to glance at this article. There’s a lot going on and it can be scary. However, I think it’s important to remember that God says these words to us. In fact, it’s mentioned at least 15 times in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.) I think these are helpful words to hear in the midst of all that’s going on.
Do not be afraid, my friends – while we find ourselves in this wilderness where very little looks familiar to us, God reminds us to not be afraid. While we’re in this wilderness, let us practise the things to help keep all of us safe. You’ve heard them lots now – practise physical distancing (not social distancing – remember to reach out to others via other methods).
Practise kindness to all you see – lots of us are just as anxious as you probably are. Practise the idea of thanking the essential workers that are out there so that we can stay at home.
Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. Stay at home if you don’t have to go out.
Do not be afraid, my friends – we will come out of this wilderness. While we’re here, though, remember that God does not abandon us in these times and that God, like a good shepherd, will strengthen and comfort us in our hour of need.
Rev’d Fr. Matt Koovisk
Rector, St. Mary’s Anglican Church