Tuesday morning March 24th I met virtually with 25 of our NT-NL Synod, ELCA pastors from two of our conferences this morning (Heart of Texas and Dallas Area Metro North). Lifted up with them the resources we continue to grow at https://www.ntnl.org/resources/covid-19/ as well as took time to check in and inquire as to how they are doing.
Robert Smith from Briarwood Retreat Center/Briarwood Leadership Center presented on information he obtained by sitting in on a webinar/conference call with public health officials in Dallas County. This focused on educating faith leaders about how decisions on care will be made if and when this pandemic begins to overwhelm the care possible in our area. This is obviously a deep area of ethics and spiritual significance. It was sobering information.
In that conversation we also talked about how we need to, as pastors, care for ourselves and our communities in this stressful, anxious time. That grief is going to be a significant emotion that we and our communities feel during this time. Given those conversations I was struck to find this article from, of all places, the Harvard Business Review acknowledging that grief is a part of this pandemic experience. Not just grief related to death but to lost opportunities, separation from family/friends, school years ending early, job losses (the list is really quite endless and very personal).
The church has a public word of hope to speak into the midst of this grief. As I said to our pastors, Easter will happen, Christ is risen, even if the church isn’t gathered in sanctuaries on Easter morn. But before we get to that word of hope/gospel we also need to acknowledge the power of the law and the grief we are feeling. Only by telling that truth, and demanding our public leaders tell that truth, will we as a society be able to move forward. #NTNL #InMissionTogether