There is no doubt Covid 19 has left a destructive mess in this country. Aside from the many deaths resulting from contracting the virus, it has stolen the lives of many more. The suicide rate went up to a level we have not seen in decades. Either as a result of isolation, loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of family and or friends, or loss of community. Nursing homes and the elderly as we know were especially hit hard. They were locked in their rooms with very little human contact. No family, no friends within the facility, no stimulation. Those who took outdoor walks, or perhaps attended an activity, or attended church services, or went to their relatives homes on a Sunday for dinner and family, all came to a screeching halt. This lack of stimulation and human contact, coupled with fear and confusion, led to a progression of dementia and a physical atrophy. And many died alone, sad, confused and feeling abandoned. That sadness should hit all of us hard.
Many on the outside who may have suffered financial hardships, looked to the church and their communities for comfort and support. They were denied this. Many people who are otherwise introverts, attend church as a sense of belonging. They feel that even though they do not engage in many social activities or gatherings, the church fills that void of isolation and loneliness. Although it may only be for one day on a Sunday, sometimes it is just the prescription they need to take them through the week. Alcoholics, drug attics, gamblers, etc many times search out spiritual groups as a form of support and comfort. It helps to believe in a higher power, something bigger than themselves, and their problems. Seek and ye shall find. And be comforted.
Our constitution provides for us as American citizens and humans, to assemble as we choose. And yet, governors and mayors proclaimed that as unlawful assemblies. As the months worn on and the isolation continued, we watched as protestors and riots broke out in our streets across the country. Businesses were burned, looted, cities left in ruins, with no reaction from those same officials who imposed imprisonment laws on the masses. And so the deaths continued, not from the virus itself, but as a result of the forced isolation. Many Christians across this country held prayer meetings in their homes, undetected. The invitations were extended covertly so as not to arouse possible violations. How tragic that in a free country, Christians would have to operate as an illicit industry. Reduced to the early 1920’s Prohibition years, conducting church in a speak easy fashion. Those who attempted services in a parking lot or worse yet dared to sing songs of praise to God were arrested and taken to jail. While broadcasted on the nightly news were thousands of rioters burning private property and even killing police officers, free from the injurious consequences of lessor actions such as church service or funerals.
In the aftermath of this pandemic, a pandemic of much greater proportions than originally predicted, we need to ask ourselves what lessons have we learned, what positive takeaway do we have, what good can we produce going forward. And most of all, how do we secure our freedom and liberty, given to us not just through our constitution, but from God. I heard a pastor recently say that we all must Shuwb, the jewish word for return. Return to God. It inspired me to do exactly that. Perhaps we all should. Shuwb to God, turn our questions and love to Him. Shuwb to our roots as Americans, live our lives in freedom, with the liberty to do so. I have often said that the Bible is my go to book. We look to it for guidance in our daily lives as Christians. Our Constitution is our go to document on how to conduct ourselves as Americans. We are blessed that we live in a country that allows us religious freedom, we would be wise not to take that for granted.