A Message for NYAC Youth in the Wake of COVID19: Please Stay Home
By Jenna Johnson, NYAC Youth Ministry Coordinator
In John 16: 32-33, Jesus tells his disciples, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my God is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
While Jesus certainly wasn’t referencing COVID-19 (Coronavirus), his words seem especially applicable to our world today. The time has come for us to be scattered to our homes. These are troubling times that cover us with worry and anxiety about what the future will bring. Will we be okay? Will our loved ones? Will our finances last as long as the quarantine? Will we have the supplies needed to get through the days ahead?
For some of us, these questions are more poignant than for others. Many young people are not concerned with the virus. COVID-19 seems to be much more deadly for older populations and people with preexisting medical conditions, leading to little worry from young, healthy folks. The problem is that while those young, healthy people won’t get as sick, they can be asymptomatic and carry the virus around and continue its spread to more high-risk populations.
Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love With God
Jesus’s ministry is clear on the importance of caring for others, as well as working for the health and wholeness of all people. It is important for all of us to work on that aspect of our Christian identity in this moment. John Wesley seconded this imperative in his three/ rules to live by as Methodists: do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
It is clear from the recommendations of the CDC that a ministry of health and wholeness and doing no harm will look like social distancing in the days to come. Because young people will most likely be asymptomatic, in order to keep our communities safe, we need to do the most to minimize our spread of the virus. Even if we feel completely fine, we could be carriers that spread the virus to parents, grandparents, and vulnerable people in our communities who the virus will be more ruthless upon.
It is time to scatter, to put off parties, gatherings, and events, in order to help those who need us. Jesus reminds us that even when we feel alone, God is with us. It is also possible to continue to support each other during this time; technology has given us endless possibilities to connect with people even when we are not physically present with them. Our church communities give us people to connect with, even if we are in our homes. We are not alone, even when the world scatters us, we find space to connect and care for one another, and God continues to walk the way with us.
Look for Creative Outlets, Find New Ways to Do Good and Stay in Love with God
The world will give us trouble, Jesus tells us. This is a time of trouble, not just for individuals but for the whole world. I encourage you to look for creative outlets, start projects you’ve been putting off, find ways to connect with each other, and rest during this period of trouble. Find new ways to do good and stay in love with God. We will continue to be the church, even when we cannot meet within its walls. We will work to do our best to promote the health and wholeness of all people by making small personal sacrifices for the greater good.
We will work and find ways to persevere through the feelings of isolation and stress; we are in this together. John Wesley reminds us that “the best of all is God is with us” no matter what.