I've known some very smart people and I've known some very wise people - and they weren't always the same people. Sometimes I've heard it as comparing someone with "book smarts" vs. "street smarts". Wisdom really comes down to applying knowledge in a skillful way.
You may have had a parent or grandparent who was always sharing different proverbs with you. These bits of wisdom can be found in Aesop's Fables, Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac", or even in fortune cookies. And, while there's some wisdom in each of these, the wisdom that comes from God and is applied within a right relationship with Him, is always the best kind.
This week, our IMMERSE: POETS reading is taking us through the first 22 chapters of the book of Proverbs. On Sunday, March 8th, we'll be talking about wisdom and the best way to be sure you're included in the list of wise people. I hope you'll be able to join us.
Speaking of this Sunday, you'll need to apply some wisdom in order to get to church on time! This weekend is the start of Daylight Savings Time which means you'll need to "Spring Forward" by setting your clock an hour ahead. If you forget, we'll be happy to welcome you to our post-worship fellowship time (with, perhaps, a little bit of friendly ribbing).
Some Wise Health Advice
As you're well-aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a major news story. Many people are feeling anxious about it's spread and unsure of what precautions to take. I encourage everyone to refer to the Center for Disease Control website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
In addition to this information, I'd like to share some wisdom offered from my pastoral colleagues:
REMINDERS TO THE CHURCH As We Respond to COVID-19
Don’t panic, but prepare. Stay informed and thoughtfully consider how you might wisely prepare for this new public health reality. Our church will be sharing ideas for how to stay informed and prepared. Remember to talk about your questions, worries, and concerns with others, learn and adjust your activity as needed, but do not be overwhelmed or driven by fear or worry.
Reject anxiety and racism even as there is growing concern and heightened awareness around the way this particular virus can spread. Know that the targeting of Chinese Americans, Asian Americans, and those who have traveled to Asia and more broadly is already occurring. This harms our church and our community. Speak out and pray against this reality and injustice intentionally.
Proactively learn about what the risks are and are not at this point; remember that COVID-19 overall is not thought to be especially aggressive or deadly, although it does seem to be easily spread, stay on hard surfaces for a long time, and impact certain high risk populations who have already been advised to protect their health and exposure. Consider how these facts might impact you, your family, and your community.
Keep an eye on how to care for those most at risk in this season, including those without access to health care, those with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions, those who are struggling with housing or poverty, or those without regular sanitization and health care. Watch out for and pray for those more vulnerable to public health concerns. Consider what might be needed in these communities and how to respond - donating sanitizer to your local homeless shelter, or calling and checking in on older congregants, etc.
Practice smart hygiene and help prevent the spread of germs for the sake of the wider community and public health. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer with high alcohol content as a good second option. Clean public/hard surfaces you use more frequently, and at your church/public space. Refrain from touching your face or mouth regularly, and always wash your hands before eating. Stay home if you have a cough or a fever. Think about how to share concise and accurate health information with your church and a community to help people feel prepared.
Consider wise and measured lifestyle adjustments - but still live! It is wise to pay attention to these health realities, especially when you are part of communal gatherings and in public spaces. There are some good resources out there now regarding church and individual/family adjustments that are recommended - share these widely to help normalize proactive and wide public health behaviors. Continue to listen to medical professionals and public health leaders so that we can accurately adjust behavior to match the risk and reality of our public health, and also reject any sense of panic, fear, racism, or stockpiling supplies, all of which damage public health in the long run.
A Few Sunday Specific Adjustments at CCC
- For now, we will forgo passing the offering bags during worship and instead ask congregants to use the offering box near the door to the Sanctuary.
- During the greeting, please greet your friends and neighbors, but refrain from shaking hands.
- During our fellowship time following worship, be extra careful about washing you hands, using utensils to take food, and being careful in how you interact with others.
We trust in a God who loves us and will care for all of our needs - including our health. While it's important to be wise in the actions we take, remember that He invites us to give our anxieties to Him rather than holding onto them ourselves.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church