I'm not sure if it's the heat, the pressures of this pandemic, or a combination of both, but stress levels seem to be rising in our congregation. We are not alone. Clergy colleagues and our Conference staff report a major increase in church conflicts over the past couple weeks. In times of adversity, we need to take special care to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," as the author of the beautiful letter to the Ephesians writes:
"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." ~Ephesians 4:1-6
Learning to agree and disagree in love is the key to "maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." There are many different opinions and views in our congregation during these divisive times, but doing our best to love one another, maintain our relationship as brothers and sisters in the one body of Christ, and keep the Greatest Commandment must always be our greatest priority. In times of conflict, it is only by having the courage and faith to talk to one another directly that we can truly come to respect, accept, understand, learn from one another, and reconcile our differences. And ultimately, we must remember that in the body of Christ it is listening for a faith perspective and God's Word that is most important and will help us find common ground, not insisting on our own opinions.
During the most divisive time in our nation's history, the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spoke these famous words during his First Inaugural Address, and they are still as relevant today as ever:
The Coronavirus is Not Just a Physical, but Mental Health Issue (help someone who needs help get help... I'm here to help)
National Domestic Violence HotlineWhen survivors are forced to stay in the home or in proximity to their abuser, it can create circumstances where their safety is compromised, and they may need to alter their safety plan.When #SocialDistancing during #COVID_19, those in abusive relationships may not be safe at home. If you or a loved one is in this tough situation, you can create a safety plan that will help you remain safe in your home.
For any victims and survivors who need support, we are here for you, 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
You are not alone.
Learn more: bit.ly/COVID19DV
General Coronavirus Information:
Comprehensive Information About the Coronavirus: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Here’s What We Learned by Analyzing 44,909 Coronavirus Confirmed Cases
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/CDC
New Travel Alerts: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Health Organization Updates: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-201
P.R.E.P. for COVID-19: https://files.constantcontact.com/4fc4c9cb001/7a55a2fa-9b43-4446-8af6-4813693e0f0e.pdf