As you have opportunity to interface with your students via a video conferencing platform or even e-mail, text, or phone call, be sure to ask each one personally how they are doing and ask if you can pray with them. There will be a variety of responses. Some will just be bored, others scared. Some may have been directly affected by COVID-19 through illness or job losses in their family. Be sensitive to what you might find. Remember, it’s possible some of them may display an “it’s no big deal” attitude as a coping mechanism to hide other emotions.
Ask your students what was going on in their lives two months ago—at the end of February. Likely, their lives were very different then.
Here’s a news clip from the end of February. It’s instructing people to prepare for what might be coming, if the coronavirus were to become a pandemic in the US (remember, things were very different back then. We didn’t know how bad it would get.)
- Looking back, what did they get right in this video? (Answers will vary and could include: Families need to stock up, everyone should have a plan in place, etc.)
- What did this news report get wrong, given where we are today? (Answers will vary and could include: Your concern only needs to be a level 2; it’s not that big of a deal; companies will still be working out of offices; if we take a few minor precautions like washing our hands and covering our mouths when we cough, we will be OK, etc.)
- With the knowledge you have today, what else would you suggest they add to this story? (Answers will vary and could include: Don’t buy all the toilet paper, stay home, take social distancing seriously, it will take longer to get through this than we thought then, etc.)
Our lives feel so different now than they did when this news report first aired. Back then, many people weren’t taking the coronavirus seriously. Some people thought others were panicking for no reason. The early church experienced something similar. People thought Jesus would be coming back right away, and they didn’t know how to wait. They didn’t know what to do in the meantime. Not to mention, they didn’t know what Jesus’ return would look like or what to expect. Even back in February, the best advice for the coronavirus was to “be prepared.” Let’s see what advice Paul gave to the early church.