Anxiety never feels like a gift, but it reflects an important impulse. Creation is gifted with a survival instinct. Anxiety is a normal reflection of that impulse. This is an important lens for understanding reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are responding out of their instinct to survive.
Faith communities have an opportunity to model this natural response in a way that still reflects a love for our neighbours. Rather than hoarding essential supplies out of fear, people of faith can model a reasoned approach to preparedness and be ready to share with those who may not have enough. Rather than shaming people for their purchasing practices or social activities, people of faith can invite them to consider the needs of others. Rather than barricading ourselves behind closed doors, people of faith can model self-isolating that includes community building through social media, cards, letters, and telephone calls.
A virus is an assault against all humanity. Unfortunately, certain groups (the elderly, immunocompromised, precariously employed, and under-housed) are bearing the brunt of this pandemic more than others. As people of faith, we can further uphold the dignity of all people by speaking truth to misinformation and fear-mongering. Reports of racism against the Asian population in Canada are disheartening and unacceptable.
A pandemic calls all of society to work together. It requires people to take personal responsibilities. But it should not cause us to abandon our commitment to the common good.
May this time of anxiety heighten our awareness of the needs of others. May our response reflect the gracious love instilled in each of us for God, ourselves, and others.
CPJ’s responses to the COVID-19 crisis:
- The Intern Exchange Podcast: The Coronavirus and our Rhetoric of “Othering” by Keira Kang
- Press Release: Canada Should Maintain Commitment to Refugee Rights Amid COVID-19
- Press Progress: Canada’s ‘Immigration Holding Centres’ Could Be a Dangerous Hot Spot During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The CCPA: Alternative Federal Budget 2020
- Joint Letter: CPJ Joins the Call for Aid for Canadian Charities
- Joint Letter: CPJ calls on PM Trudeau to Invest in Workers
- The Energy Mix: Karri Munn-Venn: Pandemic Reminds us ‘We Are All Relatives’
- A list of community-based resources in Canada helping most vulnerable groups gain have access to food, healthcare, housing, and other necessities.
- The Canadian Poverty Institute has compiled an inventory of spiritual resources that can help people struggling to maintain faith and hope.