Love in a time of pandemic

by Anna Vogt

As with many Canadians and others around the world, the Ottawa Office staff has seen drastic changes in our daily lives this week. On Monday, March 16, our office closed its physical location in Ottawa and transitioned into a new and socially distant reality. As we work remotely in our homes, we continue to follow the news and make use of virtual tools to connect with each other and the communities and people we work with.

As  most of you, we are also asking ourselves how we can respond in these uncertain times. One of the questions we are asking is, what does love look like in a pandemic? COVID-19 has reminded us that we are connected to one another and that our actions, whether social distancing, bringing food to our neighbours, donating to those in need, prayer, and seeking a response based on public health expertise, matter. 

We are encouraged to take our cue from our global neighbours, especially those who are used to living in situations of uncertainty, and respond in love and care, for those nearby and for the collective whole.

Just as this situation is a reminder that our individual actions, together, matter, we are also reminded that we have more influence than we think. More than ever, this is a time for the work for human dignity, justice and peace to continue. As we wonder about the future and what normal will look like again, we can also imagine what change can look like when we all work together. Imagine a world where policies and structures uphold the lives of the most vulnerable, place human dignity above profits and allow creation to flourish beyond destruction and conflict. Imagine a world where everyone has water to wash their hands.

During a moment in time when everything is changing, let us embrace this reminder that change is always possible and that each one of us has a role to play. Let’s work to care for one another now and think of a future with new ways of connecting and being in this fragile, beautiful world we share.

While we don’t recommend holding hands these days, this group of Honduran youth is an example of community care. In Tegucigalpa, they gather weekly through the support of MCC partner Association for a More Just Society. In a context that struggles with high levels of violence, the youth learn about their rights, and ways they can work together to implement change in creative ways. (MCC Photo/Anna Vogt)

We invite you to continue to pray for all those who are impacted by COVID-19.

We pray that we would respond with grace and compassion, leaving xenophobia and suspicion behind.

We pray that we will consistently remember to put the needs of the most vulnerable first.

We pray for wisdom for global leaders and public health officials.

We pray for people on the move, who find themselves facing situations of closed borders and uncertain access to care.

We pray for all those without social supports and in places of confinement and imprisonment.

We pray for moments of gratitude, joy and connection.

Amen

Image may contain: 7 people, people standing, crowd and outdoor
On a cardboard sign, a Bogota resident has turned the Spanish word for fear into weave. While this photo was taken during a peace march in 2016, it feels appropriate for today. What can we discover and create, together, if we turn our fear into possibilities? (MCC Photo/Anna Vogt)

Anna Vogt is Director of the MCC Ottawa Office

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