By Denise George
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
After many weeks of obeying “shelter in place” laws, staying home, children out of school, not meeting friends in restaurants for meals, not attending worship services in our church buildings and leaving our places of employment to work at home, Alabamians are gradually rejoining society and getting our lives somewhat back to normal.
On April 28, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey presented her “safer at home” plan. “We look forward to easing back into our routines with caution,” she said. “This is a step in the direction of getting things back to normal.” But such a task will be “challenging,” she added.
People are tired of staying at home and are ready and restless to resume life.
But the virus isn’t slowing down. On April 30, the day Alabama’s new guidelines went into effect, the United States saw 26,512 new cases of COVID-19 and 2,552 more deaths, according to the CDC.
As of May 15, Alabama’s death toll from COVID-19 was more than 470, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Even though Alabama is keeping many precautions in place, the new guidelines are proceeding gradually to prevent future infectious outbreaks.
As followers of Christ
One of the greatest challenges Christians face as we try to resume some sense of normality is how, in the midst of COVID-19, we can protect our most vulnerable members of society — those most at risk from the disease.
While Congress is considering broad national proposals for protecting our nation’s most vulnerable, we can do many things on an individual level as we seek to follow God’s word and as we strive, as followers of Christ, to serve others during this pandemic.
How Christians can serve the most vulnerable:
- We can educate ourselves, researching COVID-19, learning how it spreads, its symptoms, suggested treatments, etc., then share our findings with others most at risk.
- We can investigate national, state and local resources, helping put the sick and vulnerable in touch with those organizations and agencies that can help.
- We can obey Alabama’s guidelines at each phase of reopening to help slow and stop the spread of the virus, even though it is often personally inconvenient and disrupts our own healthy lives. Scripture urges us to “serve one another humbly in love,” not using our freedom “to indulge the flesh” (Gal. 5:13).
- With so many people out of work, we can help family and church members, friends and neighbors by offering financial assistance so they can afford healthy food, keep up with regular bills and avoid daily financial anxiety. Scripture tells us to “share with the Lord’s people who are in need …” (Rom. 12:13).
- We can agree to practice frequent hand-washing and mask wearing and to use common sense to avoid infecting society’s most vulnerable.
Check on the vulnerable
- We can check on the vulnerable, the sick, those with special physical/mental/emotional/spiritual needs. Whether through phone calls, Facebook, email and other technology, we can make sure they are well, safe and have their most urgent needs met as we take seriously God’s word to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace …” (1 Pet. 4:10).
- For those struggling financially, we can provide face coverings, soap, hand sanitizer, etc. We can order meals for families, having them delivered from restaurants that continue to offer food for takeout or delivery.
- We can pray constantly for those at higher risk of sickness, telling them we are lifting them up to the Lord in prayer, encouraging them to pray, be hopeful and stay vigilant in their struggle to care for themselves, their children and other family members.
- We can pray diligently for and express our appreciation to those who must continue to serve the public, even at risk to their own health: doctors and nurses, other medical facility staff members, sanitation workers, postal carriers, caregivers, nursing home employees, food suppliers and many more.
Find more information about recent state health guidelines and resources for helping vulnerable Alabamians at tabonline.org/vulnerable.