Great vibes in harsh times

Life springs up in strange places

I’ve found three scenes of encouragement in these eerie times.

The first is the church. Jana MacDonald, a fellow member of St. Paul’s in Willington, CT., plugged our Livestream service and then told us to “be” the church the rest of the week. She gives practical suggestions accompanied with hearts:

♥ Check on your elderly neighbors.
♥ Practice “social distancing.”
♥ Share the toilet paper you’ve been hoarding.
♥ Donate food to your local shelters.
♥ Support your local restaurants by purchasing gift certificates that can be used later. If you choose to eat out, tip generously.
♥ Support local freelancers whose incomes may be effected by the need for social distancing: musicians, photographers, therapists, etc.
♥ Support hourly wage workers by offering childcare so they can continue to work.
♥ Take care of yourself. Rest, exercise, get out in nature, eat healthy food, meditate, limit news/social media consumption.
♥ Reach out and ask for help if you need it.
♥ Find ways to stay encouraged and connected.

She’s telling us to tap into the traditional Christian response to epidemics and pandemics. Moses Y. Lee plumbs that heritage at the Gospel Coalition. See his “What the Early Church Can Teach Us About the Coronavirus.” Third and fourth-century plagues afflicted the Roman Empire. The pagans looked out for Number One and avoided the sick at all costs; Christians showed compassion and self-sacrifice. The consequence: The empire’s beleaguered residents were grateful and many abandoned paganism.

Andy Crouch, a national Christian leader, didn’t leap to conclusions and actually did research on the coronavirus. He wrote a helpful what-to-do-and-not-to-do essay here in an article entitled, “Love in the Time of Coronavirus.”

The second scene is Italy, of all places, which has reported 21,157 cases and 1,441 deaths (as of Sunday afternoon, March 15). The nation is locked down and hospitals are jammed, yet its people find room for innovative celebration. Here, neighborhood residents stepped onto their balconies and sang the national anthem together:

And in Rome:

Here, Italian air force pilots greet everyone with the late Luciano Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma (let no one sleep). The lyrics say venceremos (we will overcome). The jets face a single plane, symbolizing the virus, and defeat it with the nation’s flag.

The final scene shows how bizarre things are. I actually find encouragement at Fox News. Early last week, Trish Regan of “Trish Regan Prime Time” rambled about how publicity over the pandemic was yet another impeachment ploy. Predictably, many were appalled. Unpredictably, Fox News higher-ups were among them. Said one anonymous producer: “The attempt to deflect and blame the media and Democrats from Trish Regan, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld instead of addressing the coronavirus is really irresponsible and hazardous to our viewers.” An internal e-mail from a CEO said: “Please keep in mind that viewers rely on us to stay informed during a crisis of this magnitude and we are providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans.”

Regan is on hiatus. Her show won’t be seen for awhile.

Fox News has shown concern for the facts and social welfare. Eerie.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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