If you are exposed to any form of news or social media, you should already know that the COVID-19 crisis could be the defining moment of this decade. Rae Bond, CEO/Executive Director of the Chattanooga Medical Society does not mince words, “This has the potential to be absolutely catastrophic. A lot of people on the margins are really going to need help.”
Bond’s husband is a pastor and together they shepherd a group of young people, many of whom are panicking as their jobs disappeared overnight, but their financial responsibilities are unchanged. The Bonds are doing their best to bring hope and reassurance to those in the group, answering their calls and texts, and setting aside time to check-in, encourage, and pray together.
The support of a faith community was well expressed by Tennessee’s “Patient Zero” in a Facebook post: “Something incredible happens when fear and anxiety are replaced with acts of kindness and compassion; God can be experienced in a whole new way for everyone involved.”
In times like this, the church is a beacon of hope to those in need. Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet, TN geared up to provide food to students when schools closed. Partnering with a local school, the food pantry and a company which offered fresh produce, the church prepared food boxes for families in need. Early this week, they also began offering drive through dinners. “They won't even have to get out of their car," administrative pastor Rickey Baxley explained, "[They] just pull up and let us know how many meals are needed, and our volunteers will bring them to their vehicle."
Cookeville Tennessee’s Double Springs Church of Christ became a rallying point when tornadoes struck the community. They continue to serve their neighbors who have been deeply wounded by grief, destruction, and now the onset of a new crisis. Each day, the church serves hundreds of meals to those who have lost homes and loved ones. Blessed with food and supplies that came in after the tornadoes, they are continuing to feed and clothe the community, while also offering help from FEMA, TEMA, nonprofits like the Red Cross, and mental and physical health professionals.
As Patient Zero said, “Every single act of kindness, every single message, every single call we’ve received, have all ended with the same 5 words: We are praying for you! All. Of. Them! What this crazy experience has taught us is this: to find ‘the church’ in our local community, we just have to be the church to our neighbor.”
Go and do likewise. #bethechurch