Conference Minister Reflects on Ongoing Pandemic
In mid-March we were asked to shelter in place in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. Here we are in early July discovering that COVID-19 is active in Hawai'i and is not just a threat from off-island visitors. We are frustrated that for all our staying home and following precautions we see new high numbers for COVID spread. We are upset as we had hoped to be back to some sense of normalcy by this time. We miss our daily routine and the presence of family and friends as well as coworkers. We thought returning to in-person worship would be somewhat simple, but this, too, is thwarted by risks and concerns and budget issues. We hoped that we staved off the worst prediction for the virus and yet, we find our nation hurtling as fast as possible to fulfill those predictions. COVID-19 is a formidable adversary. It survives in warm weather and shows up wherever crowds gather, even attending funerals and church services. For an entity which does not have a conscience in the sense that it thinks only in terms of replicating itself, but not in terms of how it travels or who is infected, it has stolen a lot from us. First, it stole our sanctuaries and facilities, then it stole our songs, and now it is stealing our short-term foreseeable future. What an upper hand COVID-19 seems to have.
Our situation today puts me in mind of Psalm 46. This psalm wrestles with the vagaries of history and of death and decay and even the ravages of war upon Jerusalem. The psalm itself, however, is not about an impregnable city providing security against the odds. Rather, the psalm is about God's dwelling with humans in the midst of the chaos of their lives and extending the invitation to "Be still and know that I am God." It is my prayer that as we all wrestle with the consequences of COVID-19 that you and I can find the faith to be still and discover the presence of God who is with us in the midst of this time of frustration. David K. Popham, Conference Minister