Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t say love your Christian neighbor as yourself. Or love the neighbor who looks like you as yourself. He said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

No truer words were spoken. And this by a confirmation student from close to fifteen years ago. It obviously made a deep impression on me, this student sharing wisdom with the teacher.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This pandemic is getting wearing. For those of us and our neighbors who have been relatively unaffected, this may be through an overall sense of dis-ease. A sense of loss for those weddings missed, vacations to family cancelled, graduations and anniversaries upended. I described it to Renee as like a low grade fever that you know is there but you keep muddling through.

This pandemic may be suffocating for our neighbors who thrive on interaction with others, or be debilitating for our neighbors with anxiety or depression.

This pandemic may be economically crippling for our neighbors who have lost jobs or had their hours reduced. It may be life threatening if compelled to return to work environments that are not yet reasonably safe.

This pandemic is over for our neighbors who have lost their lives. What remains is the grief of our neighbors mourning their loved ones, and not being able to mourn in traditional, face to face, shoulder to cry on kinds of ways.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This may be through a text, a card or a call. It may be in a few extra minutes in intercessory prayer, or trying to find new ways to creatively connect while maintaining safe physical distancing. It may be expressed in laments hurled to the heavens, “How long O Lord?!” It could be a gift of any size to a local food pantry or summer camp trying to hang on.

If me or Pastor Josh can be of any help, please let us know. It is good to hear from one another, to catch up and be part of that mutual care and consolation of the saints.

God’s peace & hope,

Pastor Jon